BizBuzz, Jan. 8

Grand Junction Subaru, 2496 U.S. Highway 6&50, is making plans to move to a new location on around 7.5 acres situated at 651 Market Street, north of Regal Cinemas, city officials confirmed Tuesday.

Ron Bubar, who owns the dealership, will also be expanding his operations to include a second dealership through Volkswagen of America, Bubar said.

As a first step, Grand Junction City Council last week unanimously approved a revocable permit that allows Bubar to display vehicles within a one-acre section of the right of way that will eventually become F 1/2 Road, said Senior Planner Brian Rusche, who is currently reviewing final plans for the commercial development.

“The new franchise will create approximately 30 new jobs at an average annual salary of $55,000 per position,” Rusche reported to council. “The dealer campus will produce no less than $225,000,000 in retail sales through the year 2018.”

In addition to more jobs for local residents and increased sales tax revenue for the city, Bubar said he is using local bankers to finance the project and local contractors to build it.

Bubar said he worked with Jeff Taets, president of Timberline Bank, to obtain financing for the development, and with Greg Motz, president and CEO of Sun King Management, on plans for construction. Chris Motz, who is overseeing the project for Sun King, expects to break ground as soon as Feb. 1, Bubar said.

“We want to build local and bank local,” Bubar said. “That’s a big deal for us.”

Final designs for the two new buildings — one at 13,500 square feet and the other at 21,200 square feet — are currently under review by Subaru and Volkswagen, he said.

Bubar said he plans to sell Volkswagens at a temporary location on U.S. Highway 6&50 starting in April. The two new dealerships could be open as soon as September, weather permitting, he said.

Rusche said Bubar approached the city almost a year prior to submitting plans in order to understand the city’s expectations for development of the project. Bubar’s thoughtful approach has helped the review process move along very smoothly, he said.

“(Bubar’s) been great to work with,” Rusche said. 

Wet Seal at Mesa Mall is one of the more than 330 specialty retail stores the franchise operates for young women that were closed around the nation this week, mall officials confirmed Wednesday.

A telephone call to Wet Seal was not answered but one person could be seen packing up equipment and inventory inside the store on Wednesday, the date Wet Seal announced the closures would take effect.

Mall officials could not say how many people were employed at the Mesa Mall store, but closures nationwide caused nearly 3,700 full- and part-time employees to lose their jobs, the retailer said in a news release.

“The Company decided to proceed with the store closures after assessing its overall financial condition and (its) inability to successfully negotiate meaningful concessions from its landlords,” Wet Seal said.

The 338 retail stores closed on Wednesday represented around 48 percent of its net sales for the nine months ending Nov. 1, 2014, the company reported.

Following the closures, Wet Seal expects to operate about 173 retail stores and will continue to sell shoes, clothing and accessories over the Internet.

The company said it expects costs associated with the closures, including inventory write-offs and employee terminations, will amount to between $5.4 million and $6.4 million overall. Employee severances and other one-time termination charges will cost the company about $700,000.

Cost estimates do not include claims for unpaid rent expected from the stores’ landlords, according to the news release.

Stock in the company, which is publicly traded on the NASDAQ market, closed at $.06 per share Tuesday compared to the same day one year ago, when it was trading at $2.77 per share.

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