COLONIE — Latham Ford, which was sold to Lithia Motors, one of the largest car dealerships in the country, and it could be moving from its longtime home on Columbia Street off of Route 9 to Troy Schenectady Road.
Lithia Motors, which has more than 200 dealerships across the country, is proposing to build a new two-story, 42,000-square-foot building with parking for 336 vehicles near the State Police barracks on Route 7.
The company, with a headquarters in Oregon, would need three waivers: one is to exceed the 20-foot maximum setback off Route 7, a request to allow parking in front of the building and a reduction in the required landscape islands in the parking lot.
The 6.1 acre site is zoned Commercial Office Residential and is currently vacant. It would have an driveway onto Wade Road and members of the Planning Board were concerned with traffic trying to leave the site and head west on Route 7 or traffic already heading west trying to take a left hand turn into the site.
Planning Board member Paul Rosano said the company should put signage at the site and use its website to direct people to the Wade Road driveway. Dan Hershberg, of Hershberg & Hershberg Engineering, who presented the project to the Planning Board, will conduct a traffic study and present that to the board as it works its way through the planning process.
It must come back before the board at least twice more, for concept acceptance and final site plan review, before construction can start.
Chuck Voss, of Barton and Loguidice, the Town Designated Engineer, said there were not any major issues brought up by town departments and that the dealership is a “good re-use of a large vacant space.” The land was used by a landscaping company and before that as a gas station.
The Selkis family has owned Latham Ford for decades and sold it to Lithia Motors in October, 2020. The Selkis family still owns the land and the dealership on Columbia Street and is right now leasing it to Lithia Motors.
What the plans are for the land once Lithia builds a new facility is not clear. The area surrounding Latham Ford is seeing a tremendous spate of growth with the new Ayco headquarters, the construction of Coliseum Drive and another mixed use building recently approved for construction at the intersection of Coliseum Drive and Columbia Street.