Auto dealership planned for West Shore to be one of Island’s largest

Construction is underway on the West Shore for what will be one of the largest auto dealerships on Vancouver Island.

Harris Victoria Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram expects to move from its current location at Yates and Cook streets to ­Veterans Memorial Parkway and Meaford Avenue, straddling the Langford-Colwood border, by the end of the year or in early 2022.

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The 36,000-square-foot dealership designed by architect Alan Lowe will feature 20 mechanical bays and Canada’s first dedicated Jeep showroom, said dealer principal Craig Sabourin.

“It will be state-of-the-art throughout,” said Sabourin.

He said the new facility will have 16 staff in an area solely dedicated to virtual sales, a growing side of the business that’s taken root during the ­pandemic.

Sabourin said customers will be able to shop and test drive vehicles virtually, receive quotes and have online appraisals for trade-ins.

The dealership, which will employ about 100 people overall, will be head office for the Harris Auto Group, which has Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep Ram ­dealerships in Duncan and ­Nanaimo, KIA and Mazda ­dealerships in Nanaimo, and a Chevrolet Buick GMC ­dealership in Parksville.

The new Langford-Colwood dealership will have extra staff to provide vehicle pick-up and drop-off service anywhere in the capital region, said Sabourin. “It’s one thing the pandemic has taught us about customer service,” he said.

“We want to show our ­customers that no matter where you live — whether that’s in Saanich or Fairfield or Langford — we’re going to be there for them.”

The dealership is moving from the edge of downtown to the West Shore to make way for the initial phases of the massive Harris Green Village redevelopment along two blocks of Yates between Cook and Quadra streets that includes the London Drugs property.

Sabourin said there will be no disruption of service and the dealership at Cook and Yates will operate until the new West Shore location opens.

The Harris Green Village ­project by Toronto-based Starlight Investments at the 900-block of Yates Street and 1045 Yates St. is a five-tower, three-phase development that will contain 1,500 residential rental units and just over 100,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. The development is expected to feature half an acre of open space, including a public square and village green.

The company hopes to complete the project in late 2024.

The site of the auto dealership is part of the initial phase, with a proposal for rental residential towers of 17 and 19 storeys with 510 suites, including 23 lower-cost units and commercial spaces at grade.

dkloster@timescolonist.com

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