HOUSTON – (By Michelle Leigh Smith for Realty News Report) – Central Automotive Group opened a 162,500 SF expansion at its Astrodome-area facility, making it the largest Nissan dealership in the world.
The project, located at 2901 South Loop West, covers 16 acres, with a third of a mile fronting the 610 South Loop. The spiffy red, white and gleaming black facility – with space for 60 cars in the showroom – sits in the middle of Car Row, on the south side of the Loop, east of Golden Corral and west of Pappadeaux, Pappasito’s and Cavender’s.
“The economy is strong and this facility will allow us to provide our customers an unprecedented level of service with a buying experience second to none,” says Fernando J. Somoza, platform president and managing partner of Central Automotive Group. Ricardo Weitz, Dealer Principal, and José Valls, Nissan chairman of Nissan North America, welcomed 1,000 guests in a recent event.
“This is the latest and largest Nissan dealership in the U.S. and it’s right here, in Houston, Texas,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.
The Nissan dealership first opened in 1979, not long after several of Houston’s best-loved date night locations like Bill Williams, Sonny Look’s Sirloin House, Kaphan’s and Valian’s on South Main closed. The area was known for Saturday night drag racing on the vacant streets around the Astrodome. It was where those of the Greatest Generation met friends at Prince’s Drive In or Ye Old College Inn.
Best approach today is at the Buffalo Speedway exit, west of Kirby Drive, one of Houston’s most iconic thoroughfares and accessible to the METRO rail with convenient parking at the large METRO complex on Fannin, South Transit Center, the last stop on the city’s original Red METRO rail line connecting downtown with this area just south of NRG, with an extension to the Green and Purple lines. This facility is walking distance from the southernmost rail station (Fannin South) on the Red Line that connects to TMC, Museum District, Midtown, Downtown and north to UHD and HCC.
The rail system is 23 miles long now with an extension to the original 7.5- mile Red Line and the Green & Purple lines.
This excellent location, near major employment centers like Texas Medical Center and the rail, is heavily trafficked, so why haven’t other businesses and developers stepped up to improve the look of the landscape around here? Leaders from neighboring civic associations in the City’s District K, led by Council Member Martha Castex-Tatum, shared that they were not aware of other development plans.
So why can’t the South Loop rise to another level?
KPRC news anchor Dominique Sachse recalled her first car, a 1976 Chevy Camaro from the heyday of the American muscle cars. “I remember the first time I saw a 280Z – that car was the bomb,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what Nissan will bring out next.”
For the grand opening Wednesday night, Nissan paired the future with retro, parking a Black Pearl $120,000 GT-X, one of the fastest wonders off the assembly line with an original Datsun 280ZX, parked nose to nose. The sporty dream ride is a grown-up version of its predecessor.
Designed by Kirksey Architects, the space echoes the principles of elegant, clean lines while creating functionality. Customers may choose between three lounges, an entertainment center, two coffee and tea bars and a children’s play area, all optimized for convenience.
With more than 200 employees, Central Houston Nissan, 2901 S. Loop W, has become the hub for Central Automotive Group. The trilogy is comprised of three additional Nissan auto dealerships including Baytown Nissan, 5445 I-10 E; South Houston Nissan at 11911 Gulf Freeway and South Austin Nissan, 4914 S I-35. The group contributes more than $14 million in annual sales tax revenue to the City of Houston and the State of Texas.
Central Nissan is the only Nissan dealer in the city to offer all customers Central Care, which includes two-year free maintenance, lifetime car washes, road hazard tire protection, and emergency roadside assistance and lifetime loaner vehicles. The dealership also offers customers complimentary pick-up and delivery concierge for service and repair work.
Central Nissan’s new collision center has one of the few aluminum-certified repair facilities in the city and a climate-controlled service drive, the only one of its kind among Houston automobile dealerships.