January 21, 2014 Updated: January 22, 2014 at 11:41 am
After nearly a half century of doing business on North Circle Drive, Phil Winslow plans to move his dealership to a larger, more prominent location along the North Nevada Avenue urban renewal corridor.
Winslow BMW of Colorado Springs will relocate from 730 N. Circle Drive to 6.2 acres on the east side of Nevada, just south of Interstate 25. The new site sits between Pikes Peak Harley-Davidson and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Construction on a 35,000- to 36,000-square-foot dealership for new and used vehicles - which will have a larger showroom, service area and parts department - is targeted for later this year, with an opening in March or April 2015, Winslow said. The project will cost $12 million to $13 million, which includes the land acquisition, he said.
The Winslow family has been selling motor vehicles - first Volkswagens, and then BMWs - at the Circle Drive site since June 1964.
"It's time," Winslow said. "We need a fresh approach and a fresh location and we think that we found a good one."
North Circle Drive in central Colorado Springs - a middle-class residential and retail corridor - might seem an unlikely place for a dealership. But 50 years ago, it made all the sense in the world.
Around 1960, Philip Winslow, Phil Winslow's father, took over a Volkswagen dealership called Colorado Springs Motor Co. on East Platte Avenue. A few years later, his father planned to move it. The Springs was growing east, and Circle Drive was becoming a major roadway. Winslow said his father wanted to keep the dealership on the east side because many customers were stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, and they had become familiar with Volkswagens while in Europe.
Winslow's father died a few months before the dealership moved. Afterward, Phil Winslow and his mother, Clarice, ran the business, and were joined by Phil's wife, Ann.
In 1983, the Winslows added BMWs, and the dealership became known as Winslow Volkswagen-BMW. Later, the Winslows sold the Volkswagen portion, and it's been Winslow BMW since 2003.
But Winslow said he and Ann have been looking for a better retail location, and North Nevada is in the midst of a makeover.
The city declared Nevada, between Garden of the Gods Road and I-25, an urban renewal site in 2004. Since then, several run-down motels and other smaller businesses on the corridor's west side were razed and replaced by the University Village Colorado shopping center.
On Nevada's east side, UCCS is constructing several buildings, and a 156-unit apartment complex targeting students is under construction.
The Nevada location will provide easy access from the city's affluent southwest side, where the dealership draws many of its customers, Winslow said. And being close to I-25 means the dealership can draw from Monument, northern El Paso County and even Denver, he said.
"That was one of our goals, to essentially get on I-25," Winslow said.
The Winslows risked losing southwest side customers if they moved to the Powers Autopark on the city's far northeast side, said Mark Useman, a broker with Sierra Commercial Real Estate who represented the Winslows in the property acquisition.