Reflecting a revved up auto market across the country, dealership owners in Jacksonville are renovating, expanding and building new facilities.
Expansions or renovations are planned, in progress or recently completed for at least nine dealerships in Duval County.
Among the latest, the City is reviewing construction plans for an expansion and renovation for Lexus of Jacksonville in Arlington at 10259 Atlantic Blvd.
Plans and a building-permit application show a potential $3 million project in which the renovation and expansion would total almost 40,000 square feet of space at the site.
Lexus of Jacksonville is part of The Brumos Companies and operates along Atlantic Boulevard next to Brumos Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. The owner is SDS Autos Inc.
No contractor was shown on the building permit application. The architect is Robert Wulbern and the engineer is Prosser Hallock.
A zoning document shows the existing building of 20,300 square feet would be expanded by 17,200 square feet on the east.
The document, an administrative deviation request, outlines the project as "the consolidation of operations for Lexus of Jacksonville," which uses two contiguous parcels.
According to the application information, the consolidation involves the demolition of the older used-vehicle sales building, built in 1973, at 10277 Atlantic Blvd. to allow for the expansion and renovation of the new vehicle sales and service building, built in 1991, at 10257 Atlantic Blvd.
SDS Autos Inc., which does business as Lexus of Jacksonville, owns both the east and west parcels.
"The proposed expansion and renovation will result in a single building that will be built across the two contiguous parcels," according to the zoning filing.
The MLive Media Group in Detroit reported Tuesday that the U.S. auto industry began 2013 with a strong start that's expected to continue through the year.
The mlive.com website reported the majority of automakers reported January sales of double-digit gains from the same time in 2012, combining for overall auto sales topping 1 million last month, up about 14 percent from a year ago.
"Heavily contributing to last month's increase were Toyota Motor Corp. up 27 percent to 157,725 vehicles sold; Ford Motor Co. up 22 percent to 166,501 cars and trucks; and General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC each increasing 16 percent compared to last year," MLive reported.
It said the only automakers to report below double-digit growth were Nissan, Kia/Hyundai and Volkswagen.
"It's still a great beginning to 2013," said Jesse Toprak, TrueCar.com senior analyst, in the MLive report.
"All the positive forces that propelled sales in late 2012 are still with us and they have not lost any force at all," Toprak said.
MLive said those "positive forces" — the stock market, low interest rates, new products and pent-up demand — all are expected to continue to help the industry sell about 15.5 million vehicles this year.
Toprak said he didn't "see too much of a downside risk" this year regarding U.S. auto sales.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Toyota Motor Corp. raised its full-year outlook based on a 23 percent increase in profits for the most recent quarter.
Among other recent plans or applications filed with the City:
• Coggin Toyota at the Avenues. A building permit application shows owner Asbury Automotive Group plans to build a $5.2 million, 71,781-square-foot automotive dealership at 11340 Philips Highway, at Greenland Road, not far from the existing Coggin Toyota dealership at 10564 Philips Highway. No contractor was shown on the application.
• Maserati of Jacksonville. A permit application shows Hanania Automotive Group plans to build a 3,051-square-foot structure at a cost of $450,000 at 8105 Blanding Blvd., near other Hanania dealerships along Blanding Boulevard. PBV Architecture of Jacksonville is listed on the permit application as the architect.
• Fiat of Jacksonville. Construction plans were filed for a 4,072-square-foot showroom for Fiat of Jacksonville at 11101 Nurseryfields Drive next to the Jacksonville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram showroom. Taylor Sign & Design Inc. has the contract to put four signs for Fiat at the site.
• Nimnicht Chevrolet. The City approved a permit for an image rebranding and interior and exterior building improvements at the dealership at 1550 Cassat Ave. Auld & White Constructors LLC is shown as the contractor for the $759,000 project.
• Mike Davidson Ford. The City approved renovations for Mike Davidson Ford at 9650 Atlantic Blvd. Elkins Constructors Inc. is the contractor for the $1.85 million project.
• O'Steen Volvo. O'Steen Automotive Group Inc. partner Mark O'Steen said in January the company intends to relocate its Volvo dealership business at 2525 Philips Highway more than 11 miles south to 10863 Philips Highway by early 2014. Property records show O'Steen Automotive paid $1.8 million for the former Saturn dealership site, comprising two buildings developed in 1995 on a 2.9-acre site. O'Steen took out a $2.76 million mortgage Dec. 27 from Bank of America. The former Saturn dealership is not far from O'Steen's other dealership, O'Steen Volkswagen at 11401 Philips Highway, which was developed in 2006.
• Jacksonville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Arlington. Last year, the City approved a building permit for contractor MH Williams Construction Group Inc. to remodel and convert the former Toys "R" Us in the Regency area for Jacksonville Chrysler Jeep Dodge. The permit showed a project cost of $2.79 million. Owners of the Jacksonville Chrysler Jeep Dodge at 11101 Nurseryfields Drive bought the former toy superstore in Regency in November 2011.
• CarMax. Last summer, the City approved construction for the CarMax dealership complex at 7438 Blanding Blvd. T.D. Farrell Construction Inc. is the contractor for the $2.15 million project. The auto superstore is shown as an 8,157-square-foot dealership, 3,402-square-foot service building and 936-square-foot private car wash.
Marathon retains BP employees in Jacksonville
Marathon Petroleum Corp. responded Wednesday that it retained the 10 employees at the Jacksonville terminal it recently acquired from BP Products North America Inc. Marathon said it plans to operate the terminal in support of its retail operations in the state.
It said signage on the facility should be changed soon.
"This terminal, along with our other assets in the state, fits well into our logistics system and will allow us to continue expanding our footprint in an area that we already operate in," said spokesman Shane Pochard.
BP Products North America sold its North Jacksonville petroleum bulk storage terminal on Friday to Blanchard Terminal, part of Marathon Petroleum Corp., for $12.72 million.
Marathon Petroleum agreed to buy a refinery and four marketing terminals, including the one in Jacksonville, along with some other assets from BP. Marathon announced Friday the acquisition was completed.
Ulta coming to River City Marketplace
The City approved build-out for Ulta Beauty in River City Marketplace at 14964 Max Leggett Parkway, No. 404. Winkel Construction Inc. is the contractor for the $350,000 project.
It would be the third in the area. Ulta already has stores in The Markets at Town Center and in Oakleaf Town Center.
The Bolingbrook, Ill.-based company was founded in 1990 as a beauty retailer. The stores operate in what they consider high-traffic locations such as power centers. The typical store is about 10,000 square feet, including a salon of about 950 square feet. As of Dec. 29, Ulta operated 550 stores in 45 states.
Ulta Beauty says it is the largest beauty retailer that provides one-stop shopping for prestige, mass and salon products and salon services in the United States. It offers a combination of more than 20,000 beauty products across the categories of cosmetics, fragrance, hair care, skin care, bath and body products and salon styling tools, as well as salon hair care products. It offers a full-service salon in all of its stores.
It also distributes its products through the ulta.com website.
BJ's Restaurant also OK'd for River City Marketplace
Construction has been approved for BJ's Restaurants Inc. to develop a BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse at 15022 Max Leggett Parkway in River City Marketplace.
The City OK'd a permit for Fortney & Weygandt Inc. of Ohio to build the 8,376-square-foot restaurant, with outdoor patio seating at a project cost of $1.95 million.
BJ's paid $2.6 million for the property at the North Jacksonville shopping center. BJ's is based in Huntington Beach, Calif., and bought the property from Ramco Duval TRS LLC of Farmington Hills, Mich. Ramco Gershenson Inc. is the developer of River City Marketplace.
The first BJ's in Jacksonville is at the St. Johns Town Center in South Jacksonville.
Home prices rise
The CoreLogic research group said Jacksonville home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 8 percent in December from December 2011. Prices rose 1.7 percent in December from November. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices rose 4.4 percent in December and 1.3 percent in November.
Ortega Memory Care OK'd
The City approved a permit for contractor Dana B. Kenyon Co. to build the 33,000-square-foot Ortega Memory Care, along with a maintenance building and courtyard pavilion, at 5760 Timuquana Road at a project cost of almost $3 million.
Plans show a one-story facility with 54 beds. The developer is Whitehall Realty Partners LLC.
As the Daily Record reported last week, it is one of at least a dozen assisted-living or adult-care projects under way or planned in Duval County, regulatory records show.