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Thursday, Nov 30, 2023


Bert Boeckmann is expected to close escrow this week on an eight-acre tract that will eventually house an automobile superstore that will sell Ford, Lincoln/Mercury and Jaguar cars. Boeckmann, the owner of Galpin Ford, one of the largest dealers in the nation, was set to close on the $12.7 million deal in January, but property owner Zero Corp. announced that the escrow had been terminated. Boeckmann will not comment on the delay. But officials with the city of Burbank, which has agreed to give Boeckmann $3 million toward the demolition of existing buildings on the site and as much as $9 million in tax rebates over a maximum of 10 years, said it was caused by a holdup in negotiations between Boeckmann and Ford Motor Co. over details surrounding the store. The new Galpin superstore is part of Ford’s plan to consolidate dealerships in the San Fernando Valley, according to Burbank City Manager Bud Ovrum. “The San Fernando Valley is a pilot project,” he said. “Ford is trying to restructure the San Fernando Valley.” Ford, along with General Motors Corp., has earmarked several mid-sized cities as testing grounds for a dealer consolidation that would result in fewer, more successful stores. The automaker has tried unsuccessfully to establish such superstores in Indianapolis and Salt Lake City, where dealers were unwilling to sell their stores. Though Ford has announced plans to add another four to five consolidated regions in the coming months, it has not provided details on the areas, with the exception of Tulsa, Okla. Ford spokesman Jim Bright said he was unaware of any plans to include the Valley as one of its pilot markets for consolidation. In other markets, the company has required that 50 percent of Ford dealers agree to a buyout. “We said we would not engage in a hostile takeover,” Bright said. Automakers have increasingly sought to control the retail distribution of their cars because of the potential for cost savings, and because they fear they will be left behind as companies like the CarMax Group, United Auto Group and Driver’s Mart Worldwide establish huge automobile superstores. Burbank officials are so certain that the big dealerships are the wave of the future that the city is willing to pay a potential $12 million to get Boeckmann to locate his dealership there. Under the terms of the deal with the city, Boeckmann will receive a 50 percent rebate on sales tax payments up to $9 million or for 10 years, whichever comes first. “He’s going to do $150 million a year in business,” Ovrum said. “Fifty percent of the sales tax is better than nothing.” Over the years, Burbank has lost several of its car dealerships and now Burbank’s auto sales tax revenues amount to just 20 percent of the state average. Ovrum said the city feared that unless it landed Boeckmann’s dealership, it would not get another such opportunity.

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