The Tom Wood Automotive Group has bought 15 acres near the massive Anson development in Zionsville and could relocate its Lafayette Road Toyota dealership to the site, sources familiar with the deal said.
The Toyota dealership is at 4202 Lafayette Road just north of Lafayette Square Mall and West 38th Street.
The area has seen the departure of other auto dealers, including Honda West, which became Honda of Fishers in July upon its move along Britton Park Road fronting State Road 37 in Hamilton County. Brokers say that if Tom Wood shutters the west-side location, it would be the latest in a parade of dealers to reposiiton their locations to capitalize on Hamilton County's population growth and higher incomes.
“It matters anytime we have change because you want to makes sure that area’s still getting served,” said Marty Murphy, president of the Auto Dealers Association of Indiana. “But these are business decisions based on the demographics of their customer.”
Tom Wood didn’t return phone calls from IBJ seeking comment on the land purchase. Boone County records show the land sold Aug. 27 for $1.8 million to an entity called Zionsville RE LLC.
The Tom Wood Auto Group, which sells 14 car brands, is among several dealers in the area that are expanding operations. On East 96th Street, Tom Wood is growing its Subaru and Volkswagen operations, and Butler Automotive Group plans to build a larger Hyundai dealership to replace one adjacent to Butler Toyota.
Ray Skillman Ford is building a 17,300-square-foot dealership for its used car sales along U.S. 31 in Greenwood. Andy Mohr Ford in Plainfield is building a 13,300-square-foot addition to expand its service department.
And in September, Noblesville’s Common Council approved a zoning change to clear the way for Terry Lee Crossing, a 52-acre project at the corner of state roads 37 and 32 that would be anchored by a Hyundai dealership.
The parcel purchased by Tom Wood in Boone County is along Interstate 65 south of Whitestown Parkway, formerly Indiana 334. An abandoned service station fronts the property.
Tom Wood would be the first dealership to open west of Zionsville along a stretch that’s experiencing a surge in population thanks to Duke Realty Corp.’s $1 billion Anson development. A Hampton Inn and Meijer store are under construction within the development and would follow the opening of a McDonald’s and nearby Cracker Barrel restaurant.
Outside of Anson, Ryland and M/I Homes also are building houses closer to Zionsville..
The parcel snagged by Tom Wood is among the few undeveloped pieces of land left at the I-65 interchange.
At the interchange south of Cracker Barrel, Colliers International is listing 10 acres priced at $499,000 per acre. The property is owned by a family that also owns 32 acres Colliers is listing on the west side of I-65.
Colliers has fielded one offer since listing the 10-acre tract a month ago, said Ross Reller, director of land services for Colliers’ Indiana region. The recession and the housing bust stalled development of Anson, but he said interest in the area is beginning to gain steam.
“We’ve had to wait a while,” Reller said, “but the timing is good for our particular listing and the area in general.”