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Monday, Aug 8, 2022
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New Sunrise in NoHo

Sunrise Ford recently put the finishing touches on a multi-million-dollar renovation project at the car dealership. Sunrise, in North Hollywood, has a brand new 60,000-square-foot two-story showroom building and an adjacent 265,000-square-foot three-story parking structure. The cost of the project was in the neighborhood of $24 million. United Contractors Inc. handled the demolition of the old showroom building, the construction of the new one and was the construction manager for the parking structure built by Bomel Construction Co. Inc. in Irvine. Sunrise Ford General Manager Daemeth Rooney said the improvements initiated by the Bruncati family, the owners of the dealership, are meant to create an experience that car buyers cannot get elsewhere in the area. In particular, a Sunrise buyer can see the entire inventory right on the lot instead of having to go to a remote site, which happens at a lot of other dealerships, Rooney said. “It cuts down the time to shop for a car and makes it a better experience,” he explained. “Everything is right here at your fingertips.” In the early 1990s, the Bruncati family took ownership of Sunrise Ford at 5500 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood, and another dealership in Fontana. James Bruncati and his brothers Dan and Tony took over for their father Bob, who is semiretired. Last year, Ford Motor Co. saw its number of new vehicle registrations in California drop by 8 percent to 176,315 from 191,499 in 2017. Still, the car maker was No. 3 in market share in the state at 8.8 percent after Japanese imports Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. It led California in new registrations of sports cars with the Mustang having 10,238, or about 32.5 percent market share, and in full-size pickups with the F-series at 54,761 registrations, or 34 percent of the market. Unusual building Matt Menlove, an owner of United Contractors, said the project was done in two phases, with the demolition of the existing showroom and construction of the new one taking place first followed by the garage. “We pretty much rolled in from phase one to phase two. It was probably only a month and half to two months where we had to move temporary trailers in the area where the parking structure sits now that were housing the functions of the dealership during phase one,” said Menlove, who works from the Fountain Valley office of the Salt Lake City-based company. In the San Fernando Valley, Bomel has done projects in Woodland Hills, Glendale, Burbank and North Hollywood. While Bert Williamson, the project manager for Sunrise, said there was nothing groundbreaking about the parking structure, it does have some unique characteristics. “We ended up tying it with the dealership on the second floor with a bridge,” Williamson said. “They can drive cars in from the parking structure right into the dealership building, which is a little bit unique.” The first floor of the structure was built with a 15-foot high ceiling so car carriers can pull in and unload their cars. There is also a service bay that is 70 feet wide as opposed to the usual 62-foot width, he added. Bomel also built a ramp on the exterior of the building on a wedge-shaped portion of the property. “It enables us to increase the stall count,” Williamson said. “It was something unique to the design that helped us.” Menlove said the first floor of the parking structure is for customers and the other two floors are strictly for inventory storage. Out of the more than 70 car dealerships that United has built, Sunrise Ford is the first that has an escalator, he added. “I am not aware of another dealership around town that has an escalator,” Menlove said. One challenge faced by the building contractor was bringing in power to the site. United is just finishing up with trenching on Lankershim to put in a new conduit over the Red Line subway, which is a block away to the south, Menlove said. “We have been functioning for the last year and a half on temporary (power), which was done by bringing in overhead power lines with temporary poles around the block,” he added. Sales strategy Both Rooney and Menlove believe that the new showroom will make Sunrise more competitive. After all, just 8.5 miles away on Roscoe Boulevard in North Hills is Galpin Ford, the best-selling Ford dealership in the world by volume for 29 years in a row. “The Bruncatis with their new dealership are going to make a big splash and a big competitor for Galpin,” Menlove said. By creating an experience in which a car shopper can see all the cars they want in a single location, it provides something that not even Galpin does, Rooney said. “Even the almighty Galpin Ford has a storage facility a few miles away where they hold all their cars,” Rooney explained. “You can come to our address here, pull in, and within seconds, be looking at our entire inventory without having to be transported to another location.”

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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