It seems Capitol Hill auto row history will finish with a whimper, not a bang. The owner of the Bellevue Jaguar and Land Rover dealership has purchased E Pike’s Phil Smart Mercedes Benz and plans to move the business to a new facility on Airport Way, according to a statement released this morning.
The Phil Smart dealership opened on E Pike in 1959 and has continued as a family-run business:
Phil Smart Sr. has turned over the management of this “family business” to his son, Phil Smart, Jr., who continues in the great tradition of his father. Under his guidance, Phil Smart, Inc. has flourished and is one of the largest volume dealers in the region. Senior, as he is affectionately known, works tirelessly in the local community, committing time and resources to making our city a better place for us all.
The move mirrors the 2009 exodus of BMW to a larger Airport Way facility in 2009.
The Smart family’s connection to the area won’t end with the dealership’s move by new owner Al Monjazeb. The family continues to hold the land most of the block the dealership is built on between Pike and Pine for now, at least. What it plans for the soon-to-be empty dealership space is not known. CHS calls to the facility last week were not returned.
The facility left behind by BMW up E Pike looks to remain used if underutilized for the foreseeable future. We reported in January on a potential $10 million foreclosure on the property that has been planned for redevelopment for years. In the meantime, portions of the building have been leased to short-term tenants.
The Mercedes exit will leave 12th Ave’s Ferrari of Seattle dealership as the last of its kind on the Hill. UPDATE: We have forgotten about Seattle Volvo at 1120 Pike in the past — and we did again this morning. The dealership, perhaps, presents you with a more affordable alternative to (car) shop locally.
Like the Smart situation, the Ferrari and Maserati dealer’s ownership also owns the prime piece of real estate where the $300,000 cars are on display. We speculated on Ferrari’s potential exit from the Hill in 2009 when the BMW dealership began pulling up stakes. “It’s business as usual,” Tino Perrina told us in 2009. “We’re doing well and have no plans to move.” Of course, in the same article. a rep for Phill Smart also said the dealership had no plans for leaving Capitol Hill.