EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 2, 2014

Commonwealth Motors expansion may include two new franchises

Lawrence dealership buys 4.5 acres at former Waste Management site

LAWRENCE — Commonwealth Motors’ recent purchase of the former Waste Management Inc. site at 207 Marston St. for $2.9 million paves the way for the family-run auto dealership to open more franchises overlooking Interstate 495 South.

“It could be two more, depending on the land requirements,” Charles Daher, president of Charles Daher’s Commonwealth Motors, Inc., said in an interview this week about the company’s latest expansion plans.

“We’re in a growth mode. We have been under construction for the last four years, now, and are continuing to build and add. We’re still looking for additional land,” he said.

The two pieces of land acquired by Commonwealth total 4.5 acres and are located adjacent to the Commonwealth Chevrolet building. They are part of the former John C. Tombarello & Sons Salvage Co. property that borders Marston Street. But they do not include the longtime salvage yard that was contaminated with PCBS and lead other heavy metals, requiring an environmental cleanup, according to Daher.

“There are still 14 acres left and we’re interested in the balance (of the former Tombarello site) if the issues could be cleared up,” Daher said.

“The more operating room we have, the easier it is to serve our customers. The new property gives us 25 total acres of land, bordering the highway. We’ll be developing that site and were doing some preliminary engineering right now,” he said.

“We’re also looking at some innovative ways to do things, like maybe going up — parking structures going up. It depends on the requirements and what we can handle here,” he said.

Commonwealth Motors, which began in 1991, has five franchises: Chevrolet, Honda, Kia, Volkswagen and Nissan. With an inventory of 1,200 new and used cars, the company employs 300 people — more than quadruple the 70 workers it had during its first year.

The addition of each new franchise would add another 30 to 40 people to the payroll, according to Daher. He said he doesn’t know what make of cars the new franchise would sell or how soon it would open.

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