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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

Garage + Social Van Nuys Nears the Finish Line

Automotive lifestyle brand and specialty insurance provider Hagerty is closing in on fully completing Garage + Social Van Nuys, its entrance into Southern California’s car enthusiast market.

The facility’s 30,000-square-foot car garage is already operational at the 2.5-acre site, which is located at 7933 Haskell Ave. The garage spaces feature climate-controlled, dust-free storage with 24-hour security, and personalized service, including maintenance and detailing. 

Hagerty is targeting a completion date of late March for a separate 7,500-square-foot, eight-car garage that will serve as a clubhouse for members on the same property. The clubhouse will feature a cafe and coffee bar and include space for events.

Recognizing the size of the automotive community in and around the greater Los Angeles area, the company views its entrance into Southern California as a no-brainer, according to Hagerty Garage + Social Vice President James Machinist. 

“The challenge we had was finding that sweet spot between cost and (accessibility),” he said. “Basically, we have to locate it close enough to where people are enthusiasts and collectors where there’s a shortfall of storage opportunity and club opportunity for them to congregate, while also making it affordable for us from a business perspective.”

Machinist was a co-creator of Collectors’ Car Garage. Founded in 2005 in Bedford Hills, New York, the company operated an automotive storage facility that was roughly 55,000 square feet in size. Collectors’ Car Garage worked in concert with Hagerty from 2011 onward as the two companies co-hosted events.

“(Hagerty was) a great resource for referrals, and for them, I was a great resource of referrals for their insurance business, while I was looking to onboard car storage and social membership,” Machinist said. Collector’s Car Garage later joined forces with Hagerty in 2020 to form Hagerty Garage + Social and maintained the Bedford Hills facility.

In 2021, Hagerty reported $619 million in revenue with total active members climbing to 2.4 million. The company’s stock currently trades about $9 a share. 

According to Machinist, one of the highlights of the partnership has been access to the insurance company’s data sets, which allows the garage and social part of the business to identify markets in which to locate.

“We’ve gone from two locations when we accepted the partnership, to currently nine, which has been amazing,” Machinist said.

Hagerty Garage + Social operates locations in Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, New York and Florida; however, the Van Nuys location has the largest lot of any facility in their portfolio. The size allows the company to engage with a bigger subset of the car community without having to rely on partnering with neighboring businesses for event space.

Social component

Securing the location was not easy. Another would-be tenant almost landed the site, but the deal fell through, giving Hagerty another chance to strike. The cost of the facility was not disclosed. 

Porsche factory racing driver Patrick Long and longtime Porsche restorer Rod Emory will operate the facility in partnership with Hagerty. Long and Emory were instrumental to the decision to base the facility in the Valley region; both men hail from the area.

“We partnered with these products of the Valley in Rod Emery and Pat Long in order to establish the property and really relied heavily on them on where to locate the facility,” Machinist said. He added that the Van Nuys location is a draw for members and visitors in Los Angeles, the Valley and Thousand Oaks.

According to Long, the garage is looking to bring in several types of vehicles, from exotic makes and hot rods to classics and muscle cars.

“What’s exciting is that Hagerty Garage + Social offers more than just a parking spot for your car. It offers a vital social component, as well, one which Pat and I are committed to building into something meaningful for enthusiasts of all kinds,” Emory said in a statement.  “The Van Nuys clubhouse will have an all-encompassing entertainment space that focuses on car culture and welcomes the automotive community. We plan to host coffee get-togethers, track days, rallies, you name it.”

Luxury car garages and auto clubs are common in the Valley region, and a cluster of them can be found in the Thousand Oaks area. One such business is Finish Line Auto Club, which is run by Tony Principe and Rick Principe of T.R. Funding, a local private real estate investment and development firm. The organization has locations in Westlake Village and Calabasas.

The addition of Hagerty’s garage will bring the region more than 200 spaces for vehicles once the facility is running at full capacity. According to Machinist, Hagerty averages around 150 to 200 members per facility, but the size of the Van Nuys location means there may be room for a larger number of members.

Car storage at the facility costs $750 a month, and storing a motorcycle runs $450 a month. Both storage plans include initiation fees. Social membership, which does not require housing a vehicle at the site, clocks in at $250 a month with fees.

Hagerty’s entry into the automobile garage and social market in Southern California will not end with the Van Nuys location. The company has another facility in Culver City that, while not yet complete, recently began accepting memberships and is accepting cars for storage. 

Located at 3962 Landmark Street, the Culver City facility spans 34,000 square feet, has a capacity of 185 for cars and motorcycles and features a media studio and shared conference space. Car storage costs there are higher than at the Van Nuys location; they start at $1,000 a month. Motorcycle storage is $450 a month. “It’s great we’re able to accommodate sort of two different markets,” Machinist said. 

There is no set date for the completion of the Culver City facility.

Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk is a managing editor at the Los Angeles Business Journal and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. She previously covered real estate for the Los Angeles Business Journal. She has done work with publications including The Orange County Register, The Real Deal and doityourself.com.

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