Beachwood commission recommends preliminary plans for Porsche dealership

BEACHWOOD, Ohio — In a special session held Tuesday (September 20), the city’s planning and zoning commission approved preliminary site plans for the construction of the Porsche of Beachwood dealership with three minor stipulations.

In January, the dealership’s owner, Penske Automotive Group, went before the city council with plans to move the business from its current address, 25855 Chagrin Blvd., to the Marriott Fairfield Inn’s former location, 3750 Orange Place. Penske, through attorney John Monroe, stated that it had outgrown its current location.

Penske needed city council approval to rebuild on Orange Place because the city’s zoning code doesn’t allow dealerships to operate anywhere other than Chagrin Boulevard. Penske had the Fairfield Inn buildings demolished.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Monroe asked Penske’s representative, Jeff Anderson, a series of questions about plans for the Orange Place site on behalf of the commission. Anderson said the new building would be two stories tall and would include showrooms on both floors, with the top floor visible from I-271. The building will have two main entrances, one facing Orange Place and one facing I-271 to the west.

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The new Porsche site is bordered to the north by the Bob Evans Restaurant, 3700 Orange Place.

The new 34-foot-tall building will measure just over 57,000 square feet, and the site will include a second auto detailing building that would occupy just over 6,600 square feet. Like the building on Chagrin Boulevard, the new Porsche building will have a glass facade with silver top glass and red lettering.

John Monroe and Jeff Anderson

Attorney John Monroe, left, and Penske Automotive Group representative Jeff Anderson speak to the Beachwood Planning & Zoning Commission.

“We will have an area dedicated to plug-in electric vehicles,” Anderson said. “Porsche has a proprietary charger that is the largest charger on the market and can charge a car in about 20 minutes. So it’s a huge battery bank and we will have these here for our customers to charge their cars and we will also have additional chargers for our needs, for cars in service or cars arriving on car transporters.”

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Anderson said these auto transporters would drive to the dealership from Harvard Road.

The new facility will only use LED lights. The exterior lighting, Anderson said, would not encroach on the Bob Evans property or the Hampton Inn property to the south. Outside business hours, the lighting is automatically dimmed to 50 percent to save energy and costs.

The new building, to be constructed on the 15-acre lot, will be built on approximately the same footprint as the former Fairfield Inn.

“All the doors (for cars) that we’re going to put in are high-speed doors,” Anderson said. “So you’re up in about three seconds and down in about three seconds.” He said the doors will always be closed. Porsche will be able to park around 400 cars on the site.

Of the overall plan, Anderson said, “Obviously we want this facility to look premium. We want it to be representative of what we already have at Beachwood, but a step up, nicer and more modern, and with space to work in that we really don’t have today.”

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As a bonus for Beachwood, Penske Automotive Group plans to bring an additional 35 accounting jobs to town.

“We will be moving our accounting office for the entire Cleveland metro area to the second floor of this building,” Anderson said. Those jobs, he said, are now at Mercedes-Benz in Bedford, 18122 Rockside Road.

The Commission has unanimously approved the preliminary site plans provided three conditions are met. City planner George Smerigan recommended approval of the plans with stipulations about setbacks and a variance in parking depths. Building Commissioner William Griswold and City Engineer Joseph Ciuni also recommended approval of the preliminary plans.

Anderson said he hopes the final plans will be ready for review in 30 to 45 days. The city council will vote on the preliminary plans at its first meeting in October.

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