Swickard Auto Group Spends $54.5MM to Acquire Shovel-Ready Development Site in Palo Alto

Swickard Auto Group, Holman Automotive Group, Palo Alto, Audi, Mercedes
Image Courtesy of City of Palo Alto

By Meghan Hall

Two big automobile dealers have struck a deal for a key site in Palo Alto slated for redevelopment. In a transaction that closed several days ago, Swickard Auto Group purchased 4.82 acres in the commercial neighborhood of East Bayshore in Palo Alto for $54.5 million. The seller was New Jersey-based Holman Automotive Group, who has spent the last couple of years entitling the properties for redevelopment.

The Mercury News was the first to report on the transactions.

The two properties are located at 1700 and 1730 Embarcadero Road, Public documents indicate that Holman paid $26.5 million for 1700 Embarcadero in 2017, and an additional $27.85 million for 1730 Embarcadero the following year in 2018. Both properties are developed with one-story commercial buildings; 1700 Embarcadero was formerly home to a 10,000 square foot building formerly occupied by Ming’s Restaurant. The building has been empty since 2014. 1730 Embarcadero is developed with a two-story, 15,000 square foot Audi dealership.  The site is near a number of other businesses, including Cascade Technology, Mathews-Carlsen Body Works, Centrillion Technologies and Anderson Honda.

The two properties are slated to become not one, but two dealerships with two separate automotive brands, according to project documents. Documents indicate that the new development would total 84,900 square feet. The two-story facility will also feature roof deck parking and a separate car wash on the site.

While the proposed buildings will appear to be connected, the different brands and showrooms will be easily differentiated through architecture, states project documents. Metal stucco and clear fenestration will be used for the exterior of the project, with other white, earth-tone and metallic elements used as accents. Glass and fiberglass will be used to minimize the massing of the project.

The City of Palo Alto formally approved the project in June of 2019, but stipulated the proposal undergo further design review. That review was completed at the end of June of this year. Once built, the project will become home to Mercedes and Audi dealerships.

Construction of the project would occur in two phases: Phase One would involve the demolish of Ming’s Restaurant and associated surface parking, as well as the building of the Mercedes Benz showroom, offices and a service and parts center. Phase Two would include the replacement of the existing Audi dealership and construction of the car wash at the southeast corner of the property. Development is expected to occur over the course of about two years.

West Coast Commercial Real Estate News