A view of the main sales department building at the newly renamed Peacock Ford on Orlando Avenue, in South Maitland.
A view of the main sales department building at the newly renamed Peacock Ford on Orlando Avenue, in South Maitland. (Laura Kinsler)

Peacock Automotive will invest $6 million or more over the next 16 months on extensive redevelopment of its recently acquired Don Reid Ford dealership in south Maitland, and may pursue more local properties this year, president and CEO Warner Peacock told GrowthSpotter.

Located at 1875 S. Orlando Ave., the former Don Reid Ford dealership is comprised of five parcels totaling 9.7 acres that straddle Monroe and Elvin avenues, directly north of the 73-acre Ravaudage development. The property includes new and used car sales lots, a related body shop and vehicle parking.

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First reported here on Jan. 22, Peacock-Griffey Automotive LLC -- which includes famed baseball player Ken Griffey, Jr. and Orlando attorney Jay Brennan among its stakeholders -- partnered with Orlando-based equity partner Famlee Investment Company to pay more than $14 million for the dealership and property on Feb. 1.

Peacock Automotive to buy Maitland's Don Reid Ford, pursue expansion

Insight on the pending deal, what the buyer's background is with auto dealership development, and what lies ahead for the property.

Renamed as Peacock Ford, the dealership has been in business for more than 50 years at the Maitland site, most recently managed by Russell "Rusty" Reid. Primary buildings at the dealership date to 1965.

Peacock was drawn to the Reid family's sale interest in early 2016, and had known Rusty Reid for many years. Negotiations progressed over several months, a contract was drafted in late Summer 2016, and about six months followed of approvals by Ford Motor Company.

"We need to build a new facility there, that's pretty obvious," Peacock said on Wednesday. "The dealership facility was not up to date and neither was its technology.

"We're working on concept plans with the City of Maitland, they're very positive about upgrading the image of that property," he continued. "We'll build a new sales showroom, tear down the existing one, and renovate the service and parts departments."

Warner Peacock, of Peacock Automotive
Warner Peacock, of Peacock Automotive (provided)

Redevelopment of the dealership's customer-facing areas will be a challenge, in that sales must be shifted around to other buildings or a trailer when demolition of the main sales office begins, said Tad Dixon of Winter Park-based development consultancy First Team Commercial, project manager for Peacock on the property.

The main sales building will ultimately double in size from its current 10,600 square feet. Other buildings that aren't customer-facing, like the service department, may be maintained with improvements, Dixon said.

A key challenge for the property is that 9.7 acres are bifurcated by parts of Monroe, Elvin and Benjamin avenues. Dixon and Peacock will ask the city to vacate some of that right-of-way for the redevelopment, which they argue will make it safer for dealership customers.

Maitland planners have advised Peacock to expect six to eight months for permitting approvals. His goal is to start construction in the late Third Quarter or Fourth Quarter of this year, with an eight-month construction timeline projected into 2018.

Investment in the new construction should exceed $6 million, Peacock said, pushing he and his equity partner's total investment beyond $20 million overall.

A general contractor will be chosen after Peacock's team receives conceptual design approvals from the city, likely in Q3 2017, he said. No construction financing will be sought.

Peacock Automotive now has 18 dealerships across South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, including one other locally -- Peacock Subaru.

Peacock said he plans to build on that local footprint, with an interest to acquire one more dealership or undeveloped property this year if the right asset becomes available.

Attorney Becky Wilson of Lowndes, Drosdick Doster Kantor & Reed, P.A., has provided legal services, and Florida Engineering Group is civil engineer.

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Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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