Rendering to the left shows the proposed NREDI 2.0 design, opening Fall 2016. Progress images below; Black and white image shows the former Federal Mogul facility prior to construction. Two story showroom created by removal of 4100 square feet of structural deck seen in second image.
Niles-based Berman Auto Group plans to begin construction immediately to transform the industrial building at 3440 N. Kedzie Ave. in the Avondale neighborhood to a new Nissan car dealership and service center just east of the Kennedy Expressway, said company president Michael Berman.
Berman bought the 6.1-acre property, which includes a former Federal-Mogul Holdings auto-parts factory building, for $9 million in March, according to Cook County property records. The seller was Southfield, Mich.-based Federal-Mogul, which shut down the factory in 2014 and moved about 100 jobs to Mexico, said Mitch Adams, a first vice president at Los Angeles-based brokerage CBRE.
Adams represented Federal-Mogul in the sale. Mike Nardini, also a first vice president at CBRE, represented Berman in the deal.
After obtaining permits from the city this month, Berman plans to begin work on a gut rehab of the existing building, which will be converted into about 139,000 square feet of indoor showroom space, Berman said.
Berman will move a Nissan dealership there from a smaller site about two miles northwest at 4444 W. Irving Park Road, he said.
'REALLY NOTHING LIKE THIS IN CHICAGO'
“We've been looking for another location to expand in Chicago for about five years, and we've never been able to find anything that had the zoning, the right price and was large enough,” Berman said. “We looked along the Kennedy from North Avenue to Irving Park Road. There's really nothing like this in Chicago. It's unheard of to be able to put together more than 6 acres in this kind of location.”
The new Nissan dealership will employ 150 people, up from its current 70, and will create about 250 construction jobs, Berman said. It is expected to open next September, he said.
Berman's Subaru dealership at 4330 W. Irving Park Road will expand into Nissan's current property when that operation moves, he said.
The auto group, formed in 1988, is owned by Berman and his two sons, Ross and Todd. The company owns a Nissan dealership in Niles and Infinity dealerships at 640 N. LaSalle St. in Chicago and in Merrillville, Ind. Berman also has a service center on Goose Island, where it does not sell cars.
The company will generate about $250 million in sales this year, up from $212 million in 2014, Berman said. Revenue is expected to exceed $300 million after the new Nissan dealership opens, he said.
The new dealership will have room for 300 new and used cars in the building and an inventory of almost 500 cars on the property, Berman said. The facility also will include 50 stalls for automobile service, he said.
A spokeswoman for Federal-Mogul, which is controlled by billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, did not respond to a request for comment.
To finance the project, Berman took out an $18 million construction loan from Irving, Texas-based Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., according to county property records. The entire redevelopment of the property, including the acquisition cost, will be about $30 million to $35 million, Berman said.
Coming in 2017 to Normal, IL with additions for Audi and Mercedes, new exteriors for Volvo, Lincoln, Volkwsagen and Subaru. New interior finishes throughout as well as new customer areas. Black and white image below is current facility.