Dew Cadillac dashes Seminole hopes
By SHARON L. BOND
© St. Petersburg Times,
SEMINOLE -- Dew Cadillac will be moving out of downtown St. Petersburg to make way for an urban grocery, but the longtime dealership will not be going to Seminole.
Dew Cadillac is owned by Dimmitt Cadillac of Clearwater. When the dealership thought earlier this year that it would be moving, it picked a site in Seminole on which to put up a new building.
Officials in Seminole were delighted because it meant a viable business was taking over a Kash n' Karry site on Park Boulevard that had been vacant for 10 years, according to Jimmy Johnson, executive director of the Greater Seminole Area Chamber of Commerce. Dew even set up a temporary office on the site from which it sold cars for a while.
But when the deal to put a Publix grocery on the Dew site in St. Petersburg fell though in February, the dealership concentrated its energy on its longtime home, even beginning some redecorating.
Now the deal appears to be on again. Not only is a grocery forecast for the Dew space, but a 250-apartment complex would be built on the block behind the grocery. Both sites would be combined into one large development.
"We would love to reach out to Dew and welcome them back to Seminole," Johnson said Tuesday.
But Dew has decided that it will stay in St. Petersburg after it leaves its downtown property, although it does not have a site yet.
"St. Petersburg is where we have been," said Jack Doherty, manager of the Dew dealership. A new location "will be close proximity to where we are at. It probably won't be the immediate downtown, but it will be very close."
Doherty said feedback from customers convinced Dew it needed to stay in St. Petersburg. And when it leaves downtown, the dealership will arrange it so downtown workers still will be able to leave their cars for service during the day.
Johnson said Seminole would like for Dew to give it a "second consideration in the event they can't find an ideal location. We are an easily accessible community and not difficult to get to. I'm sure their clientele would follow them here."
Dew started in St. Petersburg 86 years ago and remained downtown long after most car dealerships in downtowns moved out. It is one of the oldest dealerships in the country.
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