BERLIN – The Berlin Planning Commission approved a site plan for a new building at I.G. Burton Chevrolet.
The commission approved plans for a new I.G. Burton sales and vehicle service building at a meeting last week.
“I’m very excited about the project,” commission member John Barrett said. “I look forward to seeing it done.”
Representatives of I.G. Burton told the commission they intended to build a 25,000-square-foot facility to the east of the existing building that would include a showroom as well as 17 service bays. The building, they explained, had been designed by an architect who works for General Motors. Once the new building is constructed the existing facility will eventually be removed.
Though no concerns were raised with the building itself, commission member Pete Cosby said he’d like to see a significant tree added to the section of property along Old Ocean City Boulevard.
“Call it the deal tree,” Cosby said. “Anybody looking at a car wants to be in the shade for a minute.”
I.G. Burton officials said they didn’t want trees around their car lot because of the associated mess and potential falling limbs. Cosby stressed, however, that without at least one tree there would be a huge parking lot with no shade.
Barrett said trees were problematic for car lots and said I.G. Burton facilities traditionally had quality landscaping.
“I think as a town we try to accommodate somebody that’s coming into town trying to build a new building,” Barrett said.
Commission member Ron Cascio agreed with Cosby.
“That’s one of the entries into Berlin and it’s a sea of concrete and metal,” he said, adding that this was the town’s opportunity to change that.
Dealership officials agreed to add a tree, likely a river birch, to the property. Cosby said he appreciated the compromise.
“I don’t think it’ll hurt your business,” he said. “Put a table under it with some chairs and you can do deals there. Otherwise, thank you for the great presentation. You’ve done a great job.”
Charlie Burton, owner of the dealership, said he hoped to break ground on the new facility in August.
“It’s going to be a beautiful building,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a real eye catcher.”
He added that the changes the dealership had underway at its Chrysler building across the road were nearly complete.
“That will be beautiful and then we’re going to come across the street with this new Chevy store,” he said. “We really see a huge opportunity in Berlin. We’re spending a lot of money quite honestly in Berlin but we like the demographics. We like the people, we like the town.”
He said I.G. Burton had a facility in Lewes and thought Berlin would be a similar market.
“We think it’s a good viable business,” he said. “We think we can get into the Salisbury business by having new facilities. We have a significant investment we’re going to do in Berlin but we really feel good about it. We like the town. We like that it’s very quaint, it’s our type of people. People are very nice down here and they’ve got means to buy. We’re very excited about coming to the town and we do want to present a nice facility for you.”