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Honda dealership gets approval in Vista

VISTA — The city is making way for its newest car dealership.

On Feb. 12, the City Council approved the final site plan for the proposed Norm Reeves Honda Vista dealership.

The plan calls for the dealership to be located at the northwest corner of Vista Village Drive and West Vista Way. It’s a 6.8-acre lot with a proposed 46,520-square-foot showroom and office building, 1,423-square-foot carwash and other site improvements.

By its action, the City Council also approved consolidating seven existing parcels into one to house the dealership. Currently on the site is a since-closed bowling and entertainment center.
To date, the process to find a location for the Honda dealership has taken about nine years, The Coast News reported in March 2018.

Kevin Ham, the director of development for the city of Vista, said the city started working with the manufacturer years ago to demonstrate Vista was an ideal location. One of the most sought after locations was a large vacant lot by the Food 4 Less Store on Hacienda Drive.

“In talking with them, we showed them where we thought a site might work, and why it would make sense from a customer standpoint for sales and service,” Ham said in March. “We had the manufacturer interested, and then we went through that little thing called a recession which impacted manufacturers as a whole and many retailers — so things kind of slowed down for a while, but over that period of nine years, we continued the conversation with the manufacturer, and they became interested.”

He said the day before Norm Reeves Honda was selected by Honda as the owner, the primary site by Food 4 Less was acquired by another party, leaving the Honda project in question. The next step was finding more than six acres within the general vicinity for the new dealership. It was also important to stay close to the freeway.

“We had heard that the Vista Entertainment Center wanted to close so that made one piece of the 6-acre puzzle,” said Ham, adding that the business had been in the family for years.

He added North County Ford also played an important role. According to Ham, North County Ford owned a piece of the property and a piece that the city of Vista sold it to bring an additional auto dealership to town.

“In talking to several industry experts, when you locate dealerships next to each other like that, sales increase by about 5 percent,” Ham said. “I think there will be a benefit to the dealership next door and then also the benefit to Honda.”

Christina Macone-Greene contributed to this report.

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