He’s been upgrading the building, replacing the roof, tearing down the original sign and part of the 70,000-square-foot structure. He expects the renovation project to take the rest of the year.
Gross told the board it’s hoped a “high-end” dealer would move in, companies that sell Audis or Lexus.
Board members, including Chairman Gary Azarian, said they were impressed with renderings of the project, but still had concerns.
“My concern is, if we build it and they don’t come, are we selling high-end used cars?” Azarian said.
But after hearing the project presentation again, Azarian and other board members were swayed.
“I agree the property owner has done a better job of explaining and clarifying what they want to do over there,” Azarian said.
Bernard Campbell, the only board member to back the proposal in November, reiterated his support.
“I will continue to say this is a project worthy of consideration in this town because it is not a used car dealership, but a new car dealership,” he said.
The only ZBA member to remain opposed was Robert Uttley. He said he thinks the project would make Salem look like “Route 1 in Massachusetts — with one used car dealer after another.”