Becker Buick/GMC/Pontiac started work last week on a $1 million expansion project.
Becker, a new and used car dealership at 636 E. Sprague Ave., plans to expand its parking lot, customer entrance, parts department and service center. Dale Cornwell, vice president of the dealership, said the building will be expanded by 2,500 square feet — space gained by buying the dead end of South Sheridan Street between Sprague and East First Avenue.
The car dealership, which also has a satellite location at 6623 N. Division St., was told by Pontiac a year and a half ago to either remodel or relocate as a requirement to sell the company’s cars. Cornwell said General Motors requests that its dealers be located by a shopping mall or a freeway, but he didn’t want to move from the Sprague location because it’s centrally located.
“The area’s going to build up because of the colleges just across the railroad tracks,” he said. “Businesses are moving this way from downtown — they see this as being a pretty vital part of downtown.”
He called the design of the dealership, which moved from its downtown Kauffman Buick location in 1954, “outdated.” Becker will adopt the uniform blue General Motors sign, but will retain the same name.
The expansion project includes an enlarged accessories sales area; a new waiting area and restrooms; landscaping around the building’s entrance; and three to four new office spaces, Cornwell said.
“Service is the backbone of our business,” Cornwell said. “It’ll be more handy for us — more efficient.”
Cornwell said the dealership will not expand from its current 70 employees. Construction should be completed in October.