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Shults Ford in Harmar plans move to triple its size

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 12:31 a.m.
 

Richard Bazzy shouldn't have much trouble finding people with pickup trucks to help him move.

Bazzy, owner and president of Shults Ford, confirmed he is working on moving his dealership in Harmar from 2871 Freeport Road to a now-vacant site on Gulf Lab Road, near Route 910.

The new location is about a mile away, as the F-150 travels.

Bazzy said he's moving the dealership because he needs more space.

The new site is about triple the size — from 2 acres on Freeport Road to almost 6 acres. It was made flat by the removal of a large hill there; the material was used as fill in multiple projects in the area during the past 15 years, according to township engineer Larry Seiler.

The new dealership to be built there would be double to almost triple the size of the existing Shults Ford in Harmar, Bazzy said.

Bazzy could not put a cost estimate on the project.

Including a location in McCandless, Bazzy said he stocks about 1,100 new Fords. The new location would give room for 400 more.

“We anticipate tremendous volume out of there,” said Bazzy, who has been the dealership's sole owner for seven years.

Such car dealership projects are uncommon in the Pittsburgh area, according to John Putzier, chief executive officer of the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association, based in O'Hara. More often, dealers update or renovate existing facilities, sometimes because of manufacturer requirements.

Bazzy is a “very successful” dealer in the Pittsburgh market, especially for the size of his store, Putzier said.

“That store is probably in need of updating anyway,” Putzier said of Shults. “He's landlocked. He does a terrific business. He'll have every justification for expanding in a location where he has more ability to expand. There's not a lot of room for him to expand there.”

Bazzy could not say when he expects to start construction or a target for when the new dealership location would open. That depends on permits and approvals, and the sale of the Freeport Road property, he said.

Bazzy said there is a buyer for the existing site, but the buyer has not disclosed what it would be used for.

“I really don't care,” Bazzy said.

No development plans for the existing site have been submitted to the township, Seiler said.

Seiler said he does not foresee many obstacles or issues for development of the location.

A land development plan would have to be submitted to the township's planning commission. The commission would make a recommendation to township supervisors, who would vote to approve or reject it.

A car dealership is a permitted use at that location, Seiler said. Because the property consists of two lots, Bazzy might ask to consolidate them into one.

No paperwork for the project has been submitted. A meeting was held with PennDOT because Gulf Lab is a state road, and PennDOT approval is needed for access to the road, Seiler said.

A traffic study will be done.

“I don't anticipate any issues and neither did PennDOT,” Seiler said. “We don't anticipate any major traffic issues.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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