June 16, 2011 in Business, City, News

Camp Subaru moving to former Empire Ford site

By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photo

Spokane’s Camp Subaru will move into the empty Empire Ford building in downtown Spokane later this year. Empire Ford’s owners closed the business in 2007.
(Full-size photo)

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 streets.

The sale closing is set for next week, said Jim Quigley, of Kiemle & Hagood Co. Quigley and Mike Livingston, also of Kiemle, represented the building 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 then.

At one time, Trader Joe’s corporate office considered buying it for a store. It instead is building a store on the South Hill.

The downtown 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 more than $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 its 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. Camp expects to hire 30 new workers for the downtown site, including mechanics and office support staff.

Medford-based Lithia approved the Empire purchase because it’s based downtown and provides plenty of nearby parking, Robidoux added. The sale includes a large parking lot across Third.

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

When first built in the early 1940s, the building was used as a vehicle repair shop. It’s gone through a number of remodels.

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

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