Jaguar/Land Rover & Lexus in New Buildings
By Steve Rivera
When brothers Neal and Craig Weitman stroll through their Jaguar/Land Rover and Lexus showrooms they feel a freshness, an openness and a design befitting the luxury cars they sell.
“Each dealership I go into, I like the way it looks, and I like it way it feels. I’m happy with both,” said Neal, who co-owns and operates Royal Automotive Group with Craig. Royal owns the two luxury dealerships.
Both showrooms – Lexus on Speedway and Jaguar/Land Rover at the Tucson Auto Mall – were separate projects started at the same time before COVID-19 hit.
Jaguar/Land Rover, 4670 N. Circuit Road, was a remodel of a building built in 2004. Lexus of Tucson, 4373 E Speedway, was a complete overhaul of the dealership.
All of it was done by a local builder, local architect and local designer.
“It’s important that we did that,” said Craig. “We’re local, so we want to use local.”
Each project was completed as the COVID-19 pandemic was in its early stages. But the Royal Automotive Group got through it and the Weitmans were impressed with the results.
“It’s exciting for the employees and it’s exciting for the customers,” Neal said.
Total construction cost of the two new facilities was approximately $13 million – $10 million at Lexus and $3 million at Jaguar/Land Rover.
Royal had no say in the look of the Jaguar/Land Rover building as headquarters mandated the design. “You build it the way they want you to build it,” Neal said.
In stepped J.V. Nyman and his local company, Concord General Contracting. The Jaguar/Land Rover showroom was gutted and remodeled, adding space for more vehicles on display.
“It was a really fun project,” Nyman said, adding that it was done on time and on budget. “You made something from (a couple of decades ago) look more modern. It also fits the flair of the car they are selling.”
“It looks good. It’s a more modern feel, cleaner lines,” Neal said of the 30,850-square-foot facility. “A lot of times when you remodel a place, it doesn’t mean sales pour in. It doesn’t work like that. You do want your store to look up to date and the amenities to be up to date. It’s a luxury car and you want a nice building. We loved our older building, but it was time.”
Jaguar/Land Rover provides a home base for the brothers – they both have offices there – when they are not roaming some of the other Royal Automotive sites. Royal Automotive Group has grown to include Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Lexus, Jaguar, Land Rover, MINI and Kia, with seven service centers and two collision centers.
“At the end of the day you’re doing it for the customers,” Neal said. “We’re not building a building for us to look at. We’re building it for the customers to enjoy and have a good experience, enjoy the amenities. The building doesn’t sell the car. The people do.”
The reviews have been sparkling.
“I was impressed,” Nelly Sanchez, a new Lexus owner, said of the new Lexus showroom. “The inside is like a luxury hotel. They even have a great lounge where you can get some peace and quiet instead of the hustle and bustle of downstairs.”
The salespeople love it, too.
“It’s one of the nicest showrooms I have ever worked in,” said Mark Weiss, who has been at Lexus for more than six years. “I’ve worked in big dealerships in Los Angeles, Denver and Scottsdale and this one is nicer than any of those. In the middle of the pandemic, this was one of the best (selling) years ever. I think a lot of it had to do with the new building.”
The new Lexus building is different from many dealerships in Tucson in that it is two stories. It’s 35,375 square feet, about 30 yards west from its original space. It provides for seven to eight times more car displays out front.
It’s has a “comfortable modern” feel that’s not opulent but stately. Gone is the darker look and in is a more wide-open, high-ceiling look.
“It’s nice and well done – but not over the top,” Neal said of Lexus. “It’s not stuffy. It’s clean and open.”
It includes a state-of-the-art cascading wall feature behind the receptionist area, a quiet lounge upstairs and an accommodating waiting area in the service department. And for those with families, it has a play area for the kids. There are white polished porcelain floors throughout the building with ceramic porcelain floors that look like wood in the service area.
“It’s easy to maintain,” said Janet Fischer, of Tucson-based Fischer Design Studio. “It allowed for it to be a nice, bright and functional interior.”
It has a modern big-screen TV, conference rooms and a training center, a quiet lounge, a service lounge and a 25-bay service garage.
“We just needed it to be bigger than the older one,” Neal said. “We had outgrown it. We wanted to make this one space we now have useful.”