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WHAT’S GOING ON at the Nissan, Honda Dealerships? Multi-million Dollar Construction Projects at Both

By Paul T. Choate

The new University Nissan facility is projected to be open by mid-November of this year. Photo by Paul T. Choate

Sept. 26, 2012. Recently, both University Nissan on U.S. 421 and High Country Honda on Blowing Rock Road in Boone began construction on new facilities with multi-million dollar price tags. 

According to Fred Vick, superintendent of the Nissan job site with Choate Construction, work began back in February but the building was not started until July. The new facility is located directly beside of the current dealership and Vick said the project is costing $3.8 million.

Vick also said there have been some issues due to the site being so close to the landfill. It is considered a brownfield site due to water runoff but Vick said the water has been testing clean. Additionally, there are regulations regarding grading. 

Architectural drawing of the new University Nissan facility by Conrad Knight Architecture. Click to enlarge. Photo by Paul T. Choate

“We can’t remove dirt from this site. We have to balance the cutting field and that has been a little tricky,” said Vick.

Chris Welborne, owner of University Nissan, said the age and size of their current facility, as well as having to pay rent, was a deciding factor in the decision to build a new building for the dealership. University Nissan will be the owner of the new facility.

Welborne said there was a lot of “wasted space” and added, “It’s an old building and it’s not very accommodating in the back.”

He said the new facility will be smaller and much more efficient. It will also be a “green” building that goes along with Nissan’s new “N” Ready facilities that support energy efficiency. Nissan provided incentives to University Nissan to construct the new facility.

Vick said everything was going smoothly according to the projected timeline and the facility should be complete by around mid-November of this year. 

“Everybody is excited and ready to be in a nice new, warm building,” said Welborne.

Work began on the new High Country Honda facility last month and it is expected to be completed by late-March or early-April 2013. Photo by Paul T. Choate

High Country Honda is taking a different route with their construction, building a considerably larger facility than their current one that will come in at 19,000-square-feet.

According to Mark Gray, High Country Honda sales manager, the new facility will have a larger service and sales department with more room to work and more space for customers. Though he could not provide an exact figure, he said the project had a price tag in excess of $2 million. 

“We’re completely remodeling and renovating and it’s going to be 90 percent new,” said Gray. “Everything is going to be modern and up to date. We’re making a huge investment in the community and we’re hoping the community will still continue to support us.”

A banner on the old building reads “Open For Business” letting people know that, despite the construction, High Country Honda is still doing business. Photo by Paul T. Choate

David Ledford, superintendent of the Honda job site with J.A. Street and Associates, said paperwork began on the project about four months ago and the builders broke ground last month. They are anticipating a completion date of late-March to early-April 2013. Ledford also added that, due to the unpredictable weather in the High Country, they have already planned for setbacks due to snow.

“We’re trying to get everything under roof as we can and then we can close it off and work inside,” he said. 

Gray said there are high expectations for the new facility once it is complete next spring.

“It’s going to be pretty awesome,” he said. 

University Nissan is located at 2462 U.S. 421, Boone. High Country Honda is located at 1440 Blowing Rock Road, Boone.