PITTSBURG -- A vacant and vandalized space at the Century Auto Mall in Pittsburg that was abandoned three years ago by the former Mazzei dealership will be getting a new Ford dealership under a proposal to be considered Monday by the City Council.
Thomas Nokes, the owner of Antioch Auto Center and the city's biggest car dealer, has purchased the land that once housed the Mazzei dealership. He has also purchased the Diablo Ford dealership on Railroad Avenue in Pittsburg, which will sell vehicles under the All-Star Ford name after it is relocated to the Auto Mall.
Nokes, whose Antioch Auto Center sells Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Hyundai, Nissan, Scion and Toyota vehicles, could not be reached for comment.
The proposal calls for All-Star Ford to move into the space once occupied by Mazzei's former Pontiac, Cadillac and GMC dealership.
"This will bring in Ford, and hopefully it will gain some momentum, and we'll see some of the other spaces filled," City Manager Joe Sbranti said.
If all goes according to plan, All-Star Ford could open for business in the first quarter of next year, he said.
Meanwhile, another developer has purchased the land where the former Mazzei Hyundai dealership once stood at the east end of the property and is looking for a dealer, he added.
The land that the sprawling Auto Mall sits on is owned by developer Albert Seeno Jr. When the Auto Mall opened in 2004 alongside Highway 4, it was envisioned that it would attract up to 12 dealerships, but that never happened.
Currently, only Winter Honda and Winter Chevrolet sell cars on the site. After the Mazzei Pontiac, Cadillac and GMC dealership closed in 2009, the site became a magnet for vandalism and fell into disrepair.
The proposal before the City Council calls for Pittsburg to share with All-Star Ford one-fourth of the sales tax revenues the city receives from the dealership's car sales for up to a 10-year period. The idea behind the tax incentive is to offset remodeling costs that the dealership will spend before it opens for business, Sbranti said.
"They basically have to do a complete remodel, " he said. "It helps us eliminate blight and get more from sales tax revenues in the long run."
The total amount that All-Star can receive in sales tax revenues cannot exceed $1.85 million over the entire 10-year period, said a staff report. The proposal would also waive city-related fees for planning and building permits needed to relocate and renovate the new dealership.
The plan by Nokes to open a Ford dealership in Pittsburg is not expected to impact his car dealer operations in Antioch, said Jim Jakel, Antioch's city manager.
In fact, it could help car sales in Antioch. That's because more car buyers are likely to look and possibly buy a vehicle in an area where there are several car dealers close to each other, said Jakel.
"The more dealers in a marketplace, the bigger the coverage (area) for car buyers," he said. "I think it's a positive."
It is unclear what will become of employees currently working at the Diablo Ford dealership after the vehicle inventory is relocated to the Auto Mall.
The purchase of the Diablo Ford dealership and the land where the former Mazzei dealership once stood was made through an entity that Nokes owns known as 3800 Tee Time Associates.
Reach Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her at Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.