Lexus of Colorado Springs-North Nevada Avenue rendering

Artist's rendering of a new showroom and lot planned for construction late this year by Lexus of Colorado Springs. The dealership will double the number of vehicles it can keep in its inventory when the new location opens next year.

A Colorado Springs luxury car dealer is following the bulk of its customers by moving north and expanding across from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus.

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Lexus of Colorado Springs has been looking to move from its Motor City location at 604 Auto Heights off 8th Street for five years before acquiring the Fellowship Bible Church building and land at 5560-5590 N. Nevada Ave. in March for $7.43 million, said Ed Baur, the dealership's general manager. Construction is scheduled to start in about six months with the new location opening in mid-2022. Lexus is the luxury car line of vehicle manufacturing giant Toyota.

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"More than 50% of our customer base lives to the north of this location. That is the main reason we are moving. While our top ZIP code is 80906 (southwest Colorado Springs), the next 12 largest ZIP codes for us are north of Garden of the Gods Road," Baur said. "We want to improve our image with a new store and this location (Motor City) is too small for us now — we will have nearly 600 parking spaces to display vehicles, but only have 250 at our current location."

The North Nevada location is close to two other luxury vehicle dealers — Winslow BMW of Colorado Springs, 5845 N. Nevada Ave., and Pikes Peak Harley Davidson, 5867 N. Nevada Ave., both less than ½-nmile north.

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Lexus of Colorado Springs management began looking for a new location after the dealership was sold in 2016 by New Jersey-based Holman Automotive Group to Omaha, Neb.-based Baxter Automotive Group. Holman had acquired Vancouver, Wash.-based Kuni Automotive, which had opened the Colorado Springs dealership in 2003, and immediately spun off the Lexus location in a series of transactions, Baur said. Baxter owns 21 dealerships in the Omaha, Lincoln and Kansas City areas.

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The North Nevada property, located between University Village Colorado shopping center and UCHealth Grandview Hospital across from UCCS, is more than twice the size of the dealership's Motor City location at 8.5 acres. Lexus plans to build a 35,000-square-foot showroom, parts and service complex, or nearly 60% larger than its current building, allowing for additional service bays, coffee bar, children's play area and most showroom space to display vehicles. Staffing at the new location is expected to increase 25%-50% from the 52 people Lexus now employs, Baur said.

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The outdoor lot will include a large number of covered parking spaces to protect vehicles from hail, several charging stations for electric vehicles and solar panels to generate some of the power the complex will use, Baur said. Dealership officials haven't decided what they will do with the Motor City location after the move, he said.

Eric Smith, a spokesman for Fellowship Bible's Board of Elders, said in an email that the church hasn't determined where it will move, but likely will seek "temporary facilities to occupy until we find the right permanent location."

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