Hendrick Automotive Group is moving forward with its plans to redevelop the former Kmart site in West Ashley.
Architectural plans submitted to the city show the 13-acre property soon will be the new home to Charleston's Hendrick Hyundai dealership and a Hendrick collision-repair center.
An affiliate of Charlotte-based Hendrick purchased the property in the heart of the West Ashley "Auto Mile" on Savannah Highway for $10 million in February, according to property records.
At the southwest corner of the property, the Lil' Cricket convenience store and gas station will be demolished to make way for the 14,388-square-foot Hyundai dealership.
The comany's existing Hyundai dealership at 1940 Savannah Highway will move. Dealership owner Sears Sauls said they expect to be open in the new location by the end of the year. Plans for the existing Hyundai site have not yet been determined, he said.
The former Kmart store, which closed last week, and adjacent Sears Parts & Repair shop will be partially demolished and transformed into a nearly 130,000-square-foot collision center. The facility will include a paint shop, service area and parts warehouse, according to the site plans.
The Black Bean Co., a restaurant at the center of the property, will not be affected by the redevelopment.
The project, which will include new landscaping and pavement, promises to vitalize the West Ashley corner that has long been dominated by a sea of parking spaces and aging light posts since it was developed for Kmart in the mid-1970s.
Charleston planner Tim Keane said Hendrick's plans to redevelop the site "completely fits in" with the city's latest initiative to revive West Ashley's retail climate.
The city introduced the West Ashley Economic Development Strategy at the beginning of the year to address struggling retail centers such as Citadel Mall and other aging commercial properties.
"To have those dealerships improving those properties along Savannah Highway with the landscaping, the lighting, the quality of the new buildings, is a very positive thing for the city," Keane said. "Then there's quite a few jobs associated with these projects. In so many ways, it's a positive investment being made by these car dealerships."
It's unclear when the project will break ground or how many jobs may be created by the new auto facilities. Requests for comment from Hendrick Automotive Group were not returned Thursday.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.