Originally created 11/15/00

Kia dealer plans new site



A local car dealer plans to develop a stand-alone Kia dealership in a south Augusta shopping center he purchased earlier this year.

Greg Hodges, president of Acura of Augusta, said the new dealership will occupy the former Revco pharmacy storefront in the Regency Park shopping center on Gordon Highway.

Mr. Hodges, who also owns area Honda, Saturn and Mitsubishi franchises, purchased the 47,000-square-foot shopping center six months ago for approximately $500,000 with the intent of giving his Kia franchise its own building.

"The Kia franchise has just grown to the point where it needs its own location," Mr. Hodges said, adding that car manufacturers prefer dealers keep competing brands under separate roofs.

The mostly vacant shopping center is next door to Mr. Hodges' existing Acura and Kia dealership on the 1700 block.

The new, stand-alone dealership, which is expected to open by the end of the year, will have an 8,000-square-foot showroom and will occupy a half-acre of Regency Park's parking lot with an inventory of about 200 cars.

Renovations at the 20-year-old shopping center began about a month ago.

The shopping center's largest storefront, a Food Lion grocery store that has been vacant for two years, will likely be developed as a pre-owned car center, said Rick Brady, the Kia dealership's future sales manager.

Mr. Hodges opened the Acura dealership in 1988. He added the Kia franchise in 1995. Four of his five dealerships, and those of several competitors, occupy a strip of Gordon Highway known as the "Motor Mile."

Regency Park's occupants, Aaron's Rent-To-Own and Gambro Dialysis Center, will remain as tenants.

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486 or at bized@augustachronicle.com.