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After a 4-year permitting process, construction is finally underway for the new Mullinax Ford across from Silver Spurs Arena in Osceola County.

Owner/general manager Chris Barron told GrowthSpotter the project took years to get off the ground because of zoning complications at the expanded dealership at 1810 E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. He bought an adjoining parcel at the rear of the property from the former Judge Farms, but its zoning specifically excluded auto dealerships.

Barron said he successfully applied to amend the planned development zoning to allow for the use, but county planners determined that since the new building would have straddled the property line he would need to replat the properties as a single parcel and rezone it all to general commercial.

“This has been in the works since 2012,” he said. “When it’s all said and done, it will be a total investment of $12 million.”

A new, 54,000-square-foot dealership and service center are currently under construction behind the existing Mullinax dealership. Barron said when that building is complete, the company will demolish the old building and install parking for up to 700 cars and trucks at the 10-acre site.

“We’ll have space for 300 new and 200 used cars and trucks,” he said. “The rest of the parking will be for our employees and customers.”

The new dealership will have twice as many service bays, and Barron said he expects it to create 20 new full-time jobs in sales and service.

“We’re going to move into the new building on March 1,” he said. “The final phase will be closing down the construction entrance and redoing the main entrance. That should be completed in May.”

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