Republic won't build Anne Arundel center Car-repair facility would have created 200 to 400 jobs

August 25, 1998|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

Republic Industries Inc., the Florida-based automotive retail giant headed by H. Wayne Huizenga, said yesterday that it has backed off plans to construct a $7 million used-car reconditioning center in Anne Arundel County.

"We are not going to build it," James Donahue, a spokesman for Republic, said of the facility that would have been part of one of the largest new employers in the county in more than a decade.

When plans for the auto repair shop were first disclosed early last year, a company spokesman said it would employ between 200 and 400 workers. The repair shop was to have opened in conjunction with a 1,200-vehicle used-car sales lot near Glen Burnie. The two projects had the potential of bringing 560 new jobs to the county.

The garage was to have serviced cars and trucks sold at Republic's AutoNation USA used-car megastore in Glen Burnie as well as other AutoNation outlets in the mid-Atlantic area.

AutoNation is the used car retailing arm of Fort-Lauderdale-based Republic.

Donahue said Republic's strategy has changed over the 20 months since it first announced plans for establishing a nationwide network of used-car reconditioning centers.

Republic has been on a new-car dealership buying spree over this period. It has purchased 339 dealers, including Fox Automotive Inc. last week.

"The new-car dealerships can meet the auto repair needs of our used-car stores," Donahue said. "It was much smarter to take advantage of existing facilities."

Donahue said the reconditioning centers would have been costly and redundant. He said the company has closed three repair shops that it opened in other parts of the country and operates two others on a reduced scale.

Republic's strategy shift raises questions about its plans for the approximately 20 acres of land it acquired in the Marley Neck Industrial Park for the used-car repair shop. William Badger, senior vice president of the Anne Arundel County economic development office, said Republic has no immediate plans for the property.

Pub Date: 8/25/98

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