Subaru dealership to move from island to mainland

Modern Classic Motors continues its march to the mainland.

Beaufort County officials gave preliminary approval this week to a Subaru dealership planned along U.S. 278 in Okatie.

Modern Classic Motors, which already has moved its Honda and Mercedes-Benz dealerships from Hilton Head Island, now plans to relocate its Subaru dealership to join a growing number of dealerships on the highway between Bluffton and Hardeeville, controller Peggy Rapp said Friday.

When Modern Classic Motors was moving its Mercedes dealership last year, owner Gordon Faulkner said then he planned for business' Subaru and Saab dealerships to follow. He also said a small convenience store might be added near the new dealerships.

The Subaru dealership is planned to be about 7,500 square feet on 2.5 acres. That's smaller than the 30,000-square-foot Honda building and the 19,000-square-foot Mercedes building, Rapp said.

The county's Development Review Team on Wednesday unanimously approved the Subaru plans with one condition: Developers must do a traffic study to determine if the new dealership would put too much pressure on the existing "right-in, right-out" intersection that serves Honda and Mercedes, said the project's civil engineer, Ryan Lyle of Andrews & Burgess.

If it would, developers would have to extend an existing frontage road across the rest of the tract to Graves Road, which would need to be improved to handle more traffic, Lyle said.

He said the developers hope they won't have to do that because their plans for the rest of the tract, tentatively slated for retail and office use, are not certain.

"It doesn't make good sense to construct a road there right now," Lyle said.