Construction fencing is up around the main showroom at Zeigler Ford, 2100 Harlem Ave. in North Riverside, and a white tent that will serve as a temporary showroom has been erected in the north parking lot as the dealership embarks on a major renovation of the property.
The project comes more than two years after the village board voted 4-2 to award Zeigler Ford a 50% rebate on all sales taxes the dealership generates over the next 20 years in exchange for a pledge to remain at the North Riverside location for 20 years.
According to the terms of the deal, Zeigler was required to begin construction on the improvements within three years of the sales tax rebate deal’s approval, which was in July 2020. The dealership has two years from now to complete the project.
When the deal was passed by the village board, the company had indicated they would be making a $10 million investment. The vast majority of that investment was made shortly after Zeigler Automotive Group got its deal from the village, when the company purchased the roughly 7-acre parcel, which it had been leasing from Rizza Auto Group for $8 million.
Rizza had owned the property since 1978 and operated a dealership there until 2017, when it left the village and leased the property to McCarthy Ford, which sold the business to Zeigler Automotive Group 18 months later.
Construction plans on file with the village’s building department indicate that the improvements will be mainly confined to the main showroom and sales offices at the north end of the main Zeigler Ford building along Harlem Avenue.
The company plans to make over the exterior and construct a 930-square-foot addition to the north end of the building to create what is listed on the plans as a “celebration bay” where new vehicle buyers can take possession of their vehicles in the comfort of the indoors.
The front entrance tower will also be modified, and the showroom will prominently feature a large round concierge reception desk just inside the main door, a new customer lounge, larger restrooms and reconfigured office spaces.
It is unclear how long construction will take to complete. Attempts to connect with a spokesperson from Zeigler Automotive Group were unsuccessful prior to the Landmark’s print deadline.