Mealey's Sport Auto Group expands with off-market Subaru dealership deal

Orlando-based Sport Auto Group paid $8.4 million on Friday in an off-market deal for the land beneath a Subaru dealership in south Orlando, buying the business and inventory as well for an undisclosed price in a move to expand the Don Mealey dealership network.

Located at 9951 S. Orange Blossom Trail, the 7.8-acre parcel is home to a Subaru dealership that was owned and operated over the past two-and-a-half years by Peacock Automotive

CEO Warner Peacock told GrowthSpotter he had been negotiating the sale over the past year with Don Mealey, his former employer, partner and long-time mentor. 

"It was a good deal for him as he has a Mazda dealership right across the street, and not a great fit for me because of the distance from my (south Maitland) Ford store," Peacock said. "We agreed on price, this was more about our relationship than anything. He wanted it for his sons, Jay (Mealey) in particular, who runs the business in that part of town." 

Peacock declined to share the total sale value of the business and its tangible assets, but said no misallocation was made of the real estate's specific value. 

The dealership was rebranded over the weekend by the Mealeys as Sport Subaru South. Mealey's network of local automotive dealerships includes Don Mealey Chevrolet in Clermont, Sport Subaru, Mitsubishi and Mazda dealerships in Orlando.

Officials with Mealey's Sport Auto Group did not respond to requests for comment on Monday. Sport Auto Group sourced a $7.14 million loan from Ally Bank to help finance the acquisition, to mature in April 2025.

Peacock Automotive will focus in the coming weeks on reconfiguring its plans to renovate the Peacock Ford dealership in south Maitland, after a major redevelopment plan was denied by the city's Development Review Committee last fall. 

Peacock had partnered with famed baseball player Ken Griffey, Jr., Orlando attorney Jay Brennan and other stakeholders to pay $14 million in February 2017 for the then-Don Reid Ford dealership and property. 

The company had grand plans to redevelop the 9.7-acre site, which included doubling the footprint of the main sales building, which dates to 1965. 

Peacock is now exploring options with Ford Motor Company on how it will renovate the sales and service building there under the city's renovation code, without expanding the footprint onto a side street.

"We'd like to start by October," Peacock said. "It would be a complete renovation of the existing building within its current footprint, with the exception of exterior walls. We'll focus on interior reno, and add something to the exterior walls to dress it up."

Vacating that side street's right-of-way was a key point of contention for Maitland's DRC when it denied the DP in August 2017, said Tad Dixon of First Team Commercial, who is serving as project manager. 

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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