In the Know: Construction begins next month as yet another car dealer sets up shop on Davis
Chatty Chad Haidet and Theron Trimble are among the readers who have been inquiring about a very visible piece of Davis Boulevard land, just east of Airport-Pulling Road and the Walgreens.
"Are there any plans for the vacated land on Davis where the Honda dealership was located?" T-Squared asked me.
Oh, you betcha.
As we've reported, Germain Motor Co. leaders have been talking for a long time about setting up a satellite BMW operation on this parcel. The goal has been to supplement their North Naples location to serve Marco Island and the southern part of Collier County where, as we said last month, growth has now begun accelerating to new levels.
So the time has come. And November's when construction is slated to begin, a little later than originally planned, according to project coordinator Kayla Chand of Naples-based general contractor Waltbillig & Hood.
"The BMW dealership of Naples on Davis Boulevard was put on hold earlier this year due to the uncertain economic climate," Chard told me this week. "Thankfully, it has recently been revived."
That'll be among the ongoing and past W&H handy work found all over Southwest Florida up through Sarasota to Tampa Bay and east to Clewiston including other auto-related businesses, health and retail.
The price tag on the 28,000 square feet drawn up by Naples architect Mark J. Leonardi: $6.5 million. Targeted completion, under the guidance of W&H's Senior Project Manager Chris Campbell, is September 2021, Chard said.
We're talking a fancy buns showroom with the usual spaces for customer service and parts plus an 18-stall service center on more than five acres to accommodate boatloads and boatloads of brilliant black and birch green BMWs.
Yeah, birch green. Totally new and a little psychedelic for 2021, according to industry publication, MotorBiscuit.
After selling Hondas from a pair of quarter-century-old structures that are now long gone from the spot, Germain moved the setup to 11 acres at Pine Ridge and Livingston roads in 2018.
It's had the main BMW operation parked in two buildings it opened in 2007 on more than 10 acres adjacent to the Riverchase shopping center on U.S. 41, just north of Immokalee Road.
The latest project is part of the updating of Davis that can be downright dastardly during dense driving times.
Departing County Commissioner Diana Fiala has talked about some of the upgrades that tie back to the launch and expansion we first told you about last year of Porsche, 706 feet away from the new BMW venue.
"The new Porsche dealership expanded a bit to the east, abutting Airport Road, which allowed for the county to finally acquire the land and build a right turn lane for southbound traffic on Airport approaching Davis Boulevard to flow more easily," Fiala said. "The Porsche dealership became a catalyst for other new automotive opportunities such (as) a new BMW dealership."
A little local BMW history lesson that Sandy Parker had reminded me of through her must-read Sparker’s Soapbox blog: Before his days in politics, Bill Barnett, the former Naples mayor who's now joining the octogenarian ranks, was a Toyota-BMW dealer. He sold the dealerships in 1983 to the Germain Automotive Group.
Other transformations are occurring near this intersection.
Just 1,276 feet south on Airport, the St. Matthew's House program known as LuLu's Kitchen that I wrote about last year officially opened a week ago.
The 8,000-square-foot LuLu’s serves as the new home to an open-to-the public Fresh Start Café, state-of-the-art commercial kitchen and Culinary Training Institute of Southwest Florida.
Plenty more is going on in the in-demand Davis corridor that many of you are asking about, and we plan on writing about in the coming weeks.
Can't speak from personal experience, but despite all the challenges Hertz is facing, it did come out on top in at least one aspect.
Thanks to employees of the Estero-based operation, it earned the No. 1 overall ranking for customer satisfaction for the second year in a row in a J.D. Power 2020 North America Rental Car study that surveyed leisure and business customers.
Hertz also received top honors in the following related categories: Reservation process, pick-up process and rental car, which includes satisfaction with the overall vehicle and its cleanliness.
Not breathing easy
As Florida businesses try to figure out their growth plans, a new workplace study last week revealed what their employees are thinking when it comes to coronavirus.
Two in three in Florida don't believe the mental health benefits of returning to the workplace outweigh the risks of Covid-19, according to Dolman Law Group, which conducted a survey of 5,650 Sunshine State workers.
And that's despite more than half of them reporting putting in longer hours than they did when they commuted to the office.
Since the start of the pandemic, millions have been working from home instead of going into their usual place of work.
As the economy continues to reopen despite the 230,000 United States deaths that puts America first by almost 100,000 worldwide, many workers in public-facing jobs, like shops, bars and restaurants, have already gone back to their workplace.
Office workers are among those who could soon be increasingly asked to do the same, and the question on many people’s minds is: Can my boss force me to go back to work? The survey found 73% of Florida employees believe that returning to the workplace should be optional.
Understandably, many employees remain nervous about their health, and in particular if their fellow colleagues follow safety protocols properly and if their employers provide a safe working environment, according to Dolman.
The survey revealed that 72% of employees would report a colleague for not following Covid-19 health protocols, Dolman reported, just as we've seen with the random obstinate customer entering a private business and purposely not wearing a mask despite the signage and other methods by the private firm owner simply imploring their uncomplicated use to protect workers and other citizens.
The sampling was done prior to Tuesday, when the country’s seven-day average of reported cases hit its highest level ever.
Based at the Naples Daily News, Columnist Phil Fernandez (email@example.com) writes In the Know as part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Look for his next column scheduled for Monday. Support Democracy and subscribe to a newspaper.