Noblesville set to buy repair shop land for downtown park

Noblesville’s Dave Mason Auto Outlet will close its repair shop on busy State Road 32 next year after almost two decades to make way for a planned riverfront park.

City officials are finalizing a deal for the half-acre parcel at 170 Westfield Road, on the northwest edge of the park’s 6.4-acre footprint. Noblesville also is exploring the possibility of buying a shuttered bank branch southeast of the park property.

The city Board of Public Works and Safety this week approved an “agreement in principle” to acquire the Mason property for $575,000. If the deal goes through, the Auto Outlet must vacate the premises by Feb. 1, 2015.

Owner Dave Mason said he’s not sure yet what that means for the future of the business he founded 17 years ago. (He bought the name and logo—including the memorable “Ol’ Dave Needs the Money” slogan—from his father when his namesake sold his group of five auto dealerships in the late 1990s.)

Mason said he’s waiting until the deal closes to figure out his next move. He employs two full-time technicians, one of whom is preparing to retire.

Among his options: relocating the shop or closing up and going to work for someone else.

“The biggest problem is all the customers,” said Mason, 51. “We’re trying to figure out how to take care of them.”

Business has been strong, he said, but being the boss takes its toll. “It’s tough,” he said, citing long hours and infrequent vacations.

Whatever happens, he has promised his clients that they’ll always be able to reach him.

“The phone number will stay the same. Call it and you’ll get me,” he said.

As IBJ reported in August, Noblesville is planning the park for flood-prone land between State Road 32 and Logan Street west of State Road 19, along the west side of the White River. Amenities are expected to include an outdoor amphitheater and a pedestrian bridge across the river, providing a connection to Noblesville’s courthouse square and the heart of downtown.

 

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