PARKERSBURG - A Parkersburg auto dealership is building a new service department on the site of the old Dils Ford building at the corner of Seventh and 13th streets.
Astorg Motors has begun the work to build a building for service work behind its 13th Street Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep dealership.
Work has started to demolish the old Dils Ford Building on the site behind the dealership. The old building was built in 1949 with additions made in the 1960s.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
The building that was once the Dils Ford Building behind the Astorg Motors Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep dealership at the corner of Seventh and 13th streets is being torn down to make way for a Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep Service Department for Astorg.
''We are tearing it down, because we are building a new Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep Service Department,'' said General Manager Robert Ayers. ''We are making room for that.''
Officials with the dealership said they tried to see if they could rehabilitate the old building, but too much would need to be done.
''That building has been here so long, it had a lot of issues,'' Ayers said. ''The roof leaked and we tried to fix it.
''We made attempts to repair it, but it was too far gone to be able to restore it. It was time to build new.''
Owner Paul Astorg said the old Dils Ford Building had been a staple in the community for many years.
''It was the Ford franchise for a very long time,'' he said. ''People from this area have gone there for a long time, bought their cars and had them worked on there.
''It had been around in the car business for 50-60 years.''
Astorg said he wanted to pay respect to the Dils family and the impact they have had to the local automotive business.
''They were in business in Parkersburg since around 1903 (and at that particular location for over 50 years),'' he said. ''They put a lot of sweat equity into that place.
''The Dils family did very well in the car business at that location. They serviced a lot of people around this area from that location.''
Astorg is making a video showing the demolition of the old building and the building of the new facility. It will eventually be put online.
''We wanted to show people what was there and what we are building back,'' he said. ''We want people to get a sense of what the old building was and what the new building is.
''We are tearing it down, but we are trying to build something better.''
Astorg purchased the Dodge franchise from Mullen Motors in 2009 and then received the Chrysler and Jeep franchises.
The new facility being constructed, which is expected to be completed this summer, will have room for eight service technicians to do standard maintenance, warranty repairs and alignments.
''We will be able to take care of all of our customers' service needs,'' Ayers said.
The move is part of renovations at dealerships throughout the area.
''I am sure people in the area have noticed that all of the dealerships have been rebuilding, primarily because the manufacturers have new standards that they are trying to meet for customer service and maintenance,'' Ayers said. ''The manufactures have codes and standards that they want us to meet.
''I think the Astorgs have exceeded that and then some. They did some things that were not expected of them.''
Ayers said owner Paul Astorg did not have to go to the extent he did on the new building.
''We just felt the old building was too dilapidated,'' he said. ''It had a lot of issues.
''We felt it would actually be more cost effective and better for the community to build a new facility.''
Ayers did not know the exact investment the dealership was making in the new facility.
Astorg Motors has recently opened a dealership lot at Lakeview and Murdoch avenues and is remodeling the old Mullen Motors Building on 13th Street to house its commercial service center and body shop.
''We are trying to get more up-to-date so we can better serve our customers,'' Ayers said. ''We are trying to bring everything up to the 21st Century.''
Officials with the dealership hope to have the new facility completed by the end of June, but Ayers said that will depend on a number of factors - including the weather.
Crews are expected to begin the construction phase in another month or so.
During construction, the service department will be moved temporarily into the old body shop building behind the dealership. Once the new facility is built, the old body shop will be torn down to make additional lot space for new cars.
''We are starting fresh,'' Ayers said. ''Our intention is to build a better facility.''