EDMONDS — Magic Toyota is rebuilding its car dealership in Edmonds, planning to nearly double the size of the store and the number of employees.
One of the reasons might be a surprise: light rail.
Sound Transit plans to extend the line to Lynnwood by 2024, and that will mean thousands of more people will move into south county.
While many of the newcomers will use light rail for jobs in downtown Seattle, those same people likely still will want to buy cars, said Peter Chung, Magic Toyota’s general manager.
“Sure, light rail will be nice to go to work or to a Seahawks game, but we still live in America and people love their cars,” Chung said. “They do, they love to drive.”
That’s why Chung thinks now is a perfect time to replace the dealership. Magic Toyota demolished the old dealership at 21300 Highway 99 in Edmonds in July.
The new store is expected to open by summer.
It will go from a 29,000-square-foot dealership to 47,500 square feet, with a parking deck with 66 spaces. The project was designed by Strotkamp Architects of Burlington and is being built by construction firm Foushée of Bellevue. Chung declined to say how much the company is spending on the project.
The 5-acre site was challenging for design, said David Estes, the project architect.
“In urban sites, there just isn’t enough room, because the site is so tight we were literally forced to go to rooftop parking over the building to pick up the space we needed,” Estes said.
To prepare for construction, Magic Toyota purchased a former Snohomish County PUD building along Highway 99. And it renovated property the company owned at 21000 Highway 99, which is just into Lynnwood.
Both locations are being used for daily operations as the new dealership gets built. The dealership has 120 employees now, and that could go up to as many as 240 after the opening, depending on consumer demand.
Magic Toyota is owned by the Broadus family of Seattle, which also owns Michael’s Toyota and newly acquired Michael’s Subaru and Volkswagen, on the same campus in Bellevue.
The family has recently rebuilt Michael’s Toyota and will use lessons learned from that project at Magic Toyota.
The new Magic Toyota dealership will be built with four drive-through lanes that are a total of 60 feet wide and 150 feet long, with high-speed doors that open to allow people to drive their cars inside for service.
The dealership in Edmonds will equipped with some of the most advanced technology available.
Among the doodads are laser scanners for vehicles that enter the service area. The scanners will check the license and immediately be able to determine when the car was last serviced and whether there’s been a recall notice on any parts of the vehicle.
It will also do an initial check on the underside of the vehicle — determining if the tires need replacing, or more air or if the vehicle is out of alignment.
There are a handful of dealers across the county that are testing some of the equipment, but Chung said he doesn’t know anyone that’s implementing it 100 percent.
“What drives me crazy about the car business and, this is me personally, I never want to hear anybody here say, ‘I think your car needs this’ or ‘I think you should spend money on this for your car,’” Chung said. “We do not do this at our organization. We inspect every vehicle, we check every vehicle and we say this is what your car needs.
“It’s up to you whether you want to fix it.”
The new technology also extends to the service area and sales staff. The dealership has already been focused on being as paperless as possible. All of the technicians and sales staff will be working on Surface Pro tablets. Many of the devices will use facial recognition software.
The lounge area for customers will be built with a very “hotel-slash-coffee house feel to it,” Chung said. There will be a dozen large televisions and a 12-person, bar-height table with plug-ins for laptops and devices.
The old dealership — which was a dance hall in years past — will still live on in the new shop, Chung said.
“We were luckily able to reclaim 41 timbers that were used in the old building,” he said. “Forty-one beams, solid old Doug fir beams, and we’re going to be using that in a lot of the furniture in the dealership.”
He said that’s a much better than sending them beams to the landfill.
“It’s one of those things where we saw these when we were demolishing the building and we said, ‘Why would we even think about throwing these away?’” Chung said.
The company also is going to use a natural gas electrical generator to provide about 85 percent of the lot’s energy needs. The generator will use clean-burning natural gas.
Heated water from the generator will be pumped through a series of pipes installed in the slab under the building to heat the store, as well as keep the floor dry from rainwater brought in by cars and trucks.
“That’s something the city of Edmonds just loves,” Chung said.
Jim Davis: 425-339-3097; firstname.lastname@example.org; @HBJnews.