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Chevy eyes a return to Glenwood auto market

John StroudPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A proposed new auto dealership in West Glenwood would bring Chevrolet sales and service back to Glenwood Springs, after the former Chevy dealer closed earlier this year.Michael Payne of Denver, son of former Denver auto baron Leo Payne, is proposing to build a new 16,000-square-foot Chevrolet dealership on the West Glenwood property along Highway 6, formerly owned by the Vista Auto Group, just east of the existing 7-Eleven store.Vista, which previously had the Chevy and Subaru lots in Glenwood Springs, closed the dealerships in May. The company still operates dealerships in Summit County.Payne, of Denver, was awarded the Chevrolet franchise for the Glenwood Springs-area market in July. Through his Mountain Automotive Real Estate LLC, Payne purchased the 3.8-acre West Glenwood site in September.A conceptual development plan is before the Glenwood Springs City Council for review at tonight’s regular council meeting.It’s the second time this month that council will hear plans for a new auto dealership in town. Berthod Motors was before council Dec. 1 with preliminary plans to expand its existing dealership on South Grand Avenue, adding Chrysler, Dodge and Ram vehicles to its current Jeep and GMC-Buick lines.”This is an important market for Chevrolet,” Payne told the Post Independent Wednesday. “It is one of the smaller markets, but it’s also spread out so it’s important to maintain a presence there.”The market extends more than 60 miles to the east and west, and up the Roaring Fork Valley to Aspen, he said.In addition to potential auto sales, current owners of Chevrolet vehicles would have a local parts and service center, instead of having to go to Grand Junction or Silverthorne, Payne said.The Payne family is no stranger to the Glenwood Springs area. In addition to owning a string of Denver-area auto dealerships in the 1970s and ’80s, Leo Payne owned the Bear Wallow Ranch west of Glenwood Springs through most of the 1980s.”I know the area well, and have always wanted to get back up there,” said Michael Payne, who plans to relocate his family to Glenwood Springs.Pending approval by the city, Payne is hoping to break ground on the new dealership next spring.Building design issues are likely to be a main topic of discussion for council tonight and when a formal development plan is submitted.Chevrolet has strict “branding” requirements for its local dealerships. Some of the design requirements can clash with local design standards, Payne said.He is planning to incorporate some green design elements in the new dealership, including a solar canopy to provide electricity to the dealership and run a charging station for the Chevy Volt electric vehicles.”We’re also looking into using geothermal heat exchange for the HVAC system and for ice melt and water heating,” Payne said.Tonight’s city council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Glenwood Springs City Hall, 101 W. Eighth St. Also on the agenda is:• A conceptual review for a new Kum & go convenience store and fuel station on the former Subaru dealership property at South Glen/Highway 82 and 27th Street.• An update on the community gardens on Wulfsohn Road.• Discussion and possible action on a memorandum of understanding to create a regional fire authority steering committee.jstroud@postindependent.com


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