LAWRENCE — One by one dozens of high-end luxury cars and motorcycles that are meticulously cared for, polished and pampered by their owners filed into the lot at 60 Island St.
Lined up side by side, they were ready to be shown off to a crowd of at least 500 people who came to check out the show organized by Andres Castaneda, a Lawrence native, local real estate agent and self-described "car guy."
"I was so happy to see the turnout. I couldn't believe it," said Castaneda, 25, noting that people came from as far away as Rhode Island to attend the event featuring vehicles manufactured by Aston Martin, Lamborghini, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Subaru, Chevrolet and others.
"People told me they thought it was the best car show they'd been to this year. They said the drive was so worth it," Castaneda said.
But the show, dubbed "Beers, Backroads and Borrowers," was not just a showcase for hot-looking, high-end cars. It was also an example of the positive things the city has to offer, Castaneda explained.
"Obviously there's some crime here and drugs. But it's unfortunate because there's a lot more good than bad going on in the city and I want to bring some light to that," he said. "There's been too much negativity. And I want to change that."
With help from 10 volunteers, Castaneda organized the Aug. 1 show in the parking lot featuring large, colorful murals with the Spicket River Brewery as a backdrop. Along with music, Castaneda provided information about development in the Lawrence area.
That includes a building on Essex Street, a previous Sovereign Bank branch that's available now for its next tenant; a 28-unit development underway on Chestnut Street; another 10-unit mixed-use property on Common Street; and 30 luxury rental units on Canal Street, he said.
Castaneda, a sales agent with the Fermin Group, noted that those working in real estate in Lawrence are also "involved in the redevelopment of real estate in Lawrence."
He said he is among a growing group "that wants to bring life back into the city."
"I have a lot of love for the city," he said.
Due to his love of cars, Castaneda said he's fortunate to know many people involved in the high-end "car community." He hopes to plan another show in the future.
After the show, he said he was really pleased to hear someone say that, "Essex Street looks like something out of 'Need for Speed'" — a reference to the popular video game of the same name. Owners had parked their luxury vehicles and were have something to eat at the restaurants there.
"Exotics on Essex Street," Castaneda quipped. "I think we could call it a success."
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.