Subaru of Cherry Hill Auto Dealership is planning to develop a new 67,000 square foot auto dealership and service building on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, on the property which previously was home to Subaru of America’s Headquarters.
This large building will encompass all aspects of the Subaru of Cherry Hill dealership’s capabilities; from sales to service… but in a property and building which is significantly larger than their existing dealership located less than a mile away.
The new location on Route 70 would position them next to a Porsche dealership, and is directly across from the Garden State Pavilions shopping center (ShopRite).
While the new dealership is being developed as one large building, the site plan provided to Cherry Hill Township shows it as two distinct large building areas each for showroom and service, connected by a smaller segment which will function as the “service drive” area.
The building will be positioned horizontal in line with Route 70, with both the new car showroom and service areas clearly visible to Route 70 drivers… but it will have access to the rear Park Boulevard which runs along Cooper River Park.
Old timers will remember… many, many years ago this property was home to the world famous Latin Casino. I wrote about it a few years ago when it was featured in a Martin Scorcese movie!
Subaru of America – Cherry Hill To Camden
As mentioned the lot was previously home to Subaru of America Headquarters, which operates as the American based corporate office for the Japanese based Subaru.
For over 30 years, Subaru of America operated on the Route 70 lot in a seven story building.
In 2018 they relocated their operations to a newer and larger building in Camden NJ.
Soon after they left the Cherry Hill building… it was demolished with hopes of selling it for redevelopment.
For about three years now the property has been vacant, with only the curved rows of the parking lot left as a reminder of its prior life.
The Planning Board meeting has been scheduled for June 20th and will be held remotely via Zoom. Details are at the bottom of this article.
Subaru of Cherry Hill – New Dealership.
Subaru of Cherry Hill currently operates a dealership less than a mile away on Route 70.
From my calculations the existing dealership and service building is about 22,000 sq ft. The new proposed full dealership will be three times that size at 67,000 sq ft.
Also, the existing dealership seems to have room for only 100 cars combined (Sales, service wait, customers, staff). The new dealership will have over 6x as many parking spots at 673.
While I have not had a chance to speak to management, it’s clear that the Cherry Hill Subaru operations have severely outgrown their current location, and they are looking to correct those issues with the new development.
From the Planning Board notice it seems there are two key aspects they’re looking for variance approvals on.
One is the number of parking spaces, where the dealership is looking to have more spaces than what are allowed. Keep in mind this is a car dealership and the extra parking spots are needed to hold car inventory, which are part of the overall count. The parking spots are effectively their store shelves.
The other set of requested approvals are around signage and honestly, almost every new commercial building I see has some variances associated with signage.
Simply towns just define the zoning ordinance allowing the bare minimum amount of signage, fully expecting that each project is going to come before the town looking to have those aspects reviewed.
From the site plan I can see the design of the property has the building situated closest to Route 70, centered in its road frontage… with parking on either side.
As mentioned there will be access to Park Boulevard with two driveways.
There will be a significant buffer from the building to Park Blvd and Cooper River. In fact there are two water retention basins positioned behind the building (between park Blvd.).
As I mentioned earlier in the article, it’s one large building, design with two separate but connected sections. From the Route 70 vantage point the Auto Showroom will be on the right, and the service area on the left.
That center connection piece is labeled as “Service Drives” on the site plan, which makes me think that is where a service customer would drive their car in for that initial check-in and triage review. Very common in Auto Dealerships today.
Well we’ll know for certain soon enough.
Cherry Hill does an excellent job of preparing all of the planning and zoning documents ahead of the meetings, and making them available online.
I’ve been told by the planning board office that they we’ll have them online tomorrow afternoon, and I will update this post with better imagery once that is done.
Links and Location
Subaru of Cherry Hill – New Dealership (Proposed)
2235 Route 70 West (Marlton Pike)
Cherry Hill NJ
Cherry Hill Planning Board Meeting
Public Hearing for Application # 22-P-0047 will be held fully remote by way of a Zoom Webinar in lieu of an “in-person” meeting on the 20th day of June, 2023. Caucus will begin at 7:00 PM and the meeting/hearing will begin at 7:30 PM.