Office Hours

Camp buys Empire Ford building, will move Subaru sales and service there

The former Empire Ford site at 421 W. Third Ave., Spokane, is a 49,000-square-foot facility owned by Ford Motor Credit Corp. It closed in December 2007. It has three levels of parking but the access ramp is a single lane. It was once looked at for the new Trader Joe’s store, now coming to the South Hill. (Find an interactive map of empty properties at spokesman.com/bigempty.)
The former Empire Ford site at 421 W. Third Ave., Spokane, is a 49,000-square-foot facility owned by Ford Motor Credit Corp. It closed in December 2007. It has three levels of parking but the access ramp is a single lane. It was once looked at for the new Trader Joe’s store, now coming to the South Hill. (Find an interactive map of empty properties at spokesman.com/bigempty.)

Spokane’s Camp Subaru will relocate later this year, moving into the spacious, empty Empire Ford building downtown at the corner of Third and Stevens.

The sale closing is set for next week, said Jim Quigley, of Kiemle & Hagood Co. Quigley and Mike Livingston, also of Kiemle, represented the owner, Ford Motor Credit LLC.

Ford took back the building after Empire Ford’s owners, Nate and Roberta Greene, closed the business in 2007. The building has been on the market since. At one time, Trader Joe’s corporate office considered buying it for a Spokane store. It instead is building a store on Spokane’s South Hill.

The building has about 49,000 square feet of office space, along with three full floors for parking.

Camp Subaru General Manager Justin Robidoux said the purchase price is in excess of $2 million.

For years Camp has operated a joint Subaru and BMW service shop and dealership at 215 E. Montgomery in north Spokane. With Subaru enjoying strong sales in the Spokane area, the company — part of the Lithia Automotive Group — decided to separate it from BMW and give Subaru sales and service their own location, Robidoux said.

The move is expected to happen in September. The downtown service area and dealership will have about 50 workers. Robidoux said. Under its new name of Lithia Subaru Spokane, it will hire about 30 new workers for the downtown site, including mechanics and office support staff.

Medford-based Lithia approved buying the Empire building because it’s centrally based in downtown and provides plenty of nearby parking, Robidoux added. The sale included the empty parking area across Third.

 “Also, being right next to I-90, we can take advantage of the top level for signs and better visibility,” Robidoux said.

Subaru’s corporate office had to approve the purchase. Robidoux said the building may become the largest Subaru dealership, in size, in the country.

When first built in the early 1940s, the building was used as a vehicle repair shop. It’s gone through remodels and now has four floors, including a rooftop parking area.




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