New auto dealership to be built in Warren County

Announcement boosts city plan to increase development along Ohio 63 western corridor.

Construction has begun on a new location for Lebanon’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership, expected to cost as much as $10 million and more than double the size of the showroom, repair shop and facilities.

The Cronin Automotive Group said it would spend $8.5 million to $10 million on the new and improved location, less than a mile from where it has been operating under a lease since purchasing the dealership in 2019.

The development is a step in carrying out the West Main St. Area Plan, developed by the city in 2018 to stretch west along Ohio 63, Main Street in Lebanon and filling in open land with development.

“We are very excited to see this investment taking place along the West Main St. corridor, as we look to encourage a mix of commercial, office, and residential development in this area to expand the City’s tax base,” City Manager Scott Brunka said.

The location on West Main Street (Ohio 63 in Lebanon), is expected to position Cronin to compete with other area Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealers from a home of its own.

“It’s almost equidistant between 71 and 75,” said Chevas Sparks, managing partner for Cronin Automotive. “We found that piece of land fit the bill perfectly.”

On Monday, the Lebanon City Council will learn about how it would help Cronin pay for $1.2 million in energy-efficient improvements on the 32,000 square-foot building to be built on about seven acres on the southwest corner of West Main Street and Glosser Road.

For the company to benefit from the energy-efficiency incentive, the council will need to pass a series of resolutions enabling the enhanced building and HVAC system to be included in a Property assessed Clean Energy (PACE) District.

Credit: Lawrence Budd

Credit: Lawrence Budd

“By allowing participating property owners to pay for energy improvements to their properties via a bond issue tied to a special assessment on their property tax bill, PACE financing enables property owners to reduce energy costs with upfront investment,” Lebanon Community Development Director Jason Millard said in a staff report on the proposed special district.

Crews are already moving dirt in anticipation of construction. Cronin, which already operates dealerships in Harrison, Ohio, and Richmond, Ind., hopes to open the new digs in Lebanon in June 2021. It would be the group’s only Chrysler-Dodge dealership.

Cronin bought the dealership at 518 W. Main St. in May 2019 from Gordon Wallace and daughter Bridget Reinberger and began leasing the lot.

The number of service bays is to grow from 11 to 30 and employees from 28 to 50.

“We’re very excited to be in the new facility,” Sparks said. “We’re really excited to serve the community of Lebanon and the community around it for years to come.”

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