ST. GEORGE – A zoning change unanimously-approved by the City Council Thursday is paving the way for a new addition to the Stephen Wade Auto Center – a new Mercedes-Benz dealership.
Located on the northwest corner of Hilton Drive and Black Ridge Drive, the 2.2-acre property will see the construction of a 20,000-square-foot facility housing the new dealership and service center. Some of the buildings occupying the property have already been torn down to make way for eventual construction.
“We’re thrilled,” Mayor Jon Pike said following the vote.
Getting a Mercedes-Benz dealership awarded to St. George wasn’t easy, said Stephen Wade, president of the Stephen Wade Auto Center.
There are over 4,300 GMC dealerships in the United States, Wade said. The Mercedes-Benz dealership in St. George will be the European auto company’s 385th dealership in the United States, he said.
“There’s (a dealership) in Salt Lake, one in Provo, two in Nevada; it’s very sparse. It was very difficult for us to convince them that St George is ready for Mercedes-Benz from their point of view,” Wade told the City Council.
The European automaker has stringent requirements for potential dealership locations, Wade said, and added two of the things Mercedes-Benz looked at were the population and income of the candidate area.
“For them to award a (dealership) in St. George tells you what the public thinks from afar about St. George,” Wade said, “and where we’re going, and what we’re about, and what our future looks like.”
Though some issues related to the property slated for the new dealership still need to be worked out with the city, Wade said, he hopes to see construction begin in May.
“This level of commitment is made possible because of this city’s tremendous support of the Dixie Roundup Rodeo and the Sunbowl,” a representative of the club said to the council.
The mayor said the city appreciates the partnership it has and has had for years with the Lions Club.
The City Council reviewed and approved the city’s financial report for March. City Manager Gary Esplin said the city’s sales tax revenue is up over 6 percent and overall general fund revenues are up over 4 percent from last year. City expenditures were also down.
“I feel pretty good about the budget so far,” Esplin said.
The council awarded $409,000 in bids related to its annual chip-seal road project.
A bid for $132,000 was approved by the council for a remodel of the city’s recreation center.
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