by W.B. King
Since 1908, there has been a car dealership in operation at 480 South Broadway in Tarrytown. Today the address is home to Tarrytown Honda. Dwight Dachnowicz, who bought the dealership in 2006, announced last month that a new Honda Service Center will be built across the street on the parcel previously occupied by El Dorado West diner.
“We acquired the property the first of May and have submitted our demolition permit to the town,” said Dachnowicz who added that the town’s planning and zoning board have approved a 23,168-square-foot, state-of-the-art service center facility complete with 23 service bays.
“There will be a nine-car service ride up, which means it’s a modern facility where customers drive into a covered entrance,” he said. “As it stands on the current property, customers pull up outside of the building, which is one of the things neighbors complained about for years. And to be fair, there was a backlog of cars that were getting close to the street.”
The service center will be a solar ready facility featuring low voltage, LED lighting and rock gardens for water retention to minimize water use. “Honda is one of the most environmentally friendly manufacturer in the world, and they have an environmental leadership program,” said Dachnowicz. “The service facility will be built to at least their silver standard, but my goal is to achieve their gold standard.”
Dachnowicz explained that he worked closely with the town for eight years trying to mediate concerns regarding the 480 South Broadway property and two years on the service facility plans. He wanted to ensure that all boxes were checked.
“It was paramount to the village that any new building blends with that area of town, so, for example, it will be extremely similar to DoubleTree’s knee stonewall in the front,” said Dachnowicz. “This building will look more like historic Tarrytown than a prototypical Honda dealership.”
Tarrytown Honda Receives High Marks
One reason, among many, for the new facility is that, of the approximate 1,000 Honda dealerships nationally, Tarrytown Honda usually ranks in the top 100 (and usually top 10 state-wide).
Dachnowicz sells, on average, 2,500 cars per year. As a result, he said that he simply needed more space to service his customer’s vehicles. The dealership, which currently employees 100 people, will hire an additional 25 employees for the service center.
And while Dachnowicz said he never likes to see a business “displaced,” as was the case for El Dorado West, he noted that the diner has many locations in Westchester, including one about a mile away.
“I know the diner was there for a long time, but that was an issue between the diner and the land owner, and from what I heard, the diner had planned on exiting for some time,” he said adding that he signed a 20-year lease with an option to buy the land. “I don’t want to discuss a dollar amount, but our lease term is marginally more than the diner was paying—from the records I have.”
With groundbreaking of the service center planned for later this year, the 480 South Broadway location will eventually be reconfigured to feature the sales of new and used cars. There will no longer be parts sold at this location or automotive service. And in the coming years, this building will receive a facelift.
“Once I finish the service project, my intention is to jump over to the sales facility,” said Dachnowicz. “The exterior will look near-identical to the service facility—as a business owner, it would be senseless not to do that.”