Thoroughbred Motors Auto Dealership

Nashville, Tennessee

Thoroughbred MotorCars Inc.

Thoroughbred Motors wanted to expand their line of European, high-performance automobiles, and give each brand its own show­room: Jaguar, Porsche, Audi, Saab. It was a complete renovation – and they were open for business during the entire process.

The Franklin Road dealership was a project that required extraordinary organization and attention to detail as the construction zone moved progressively around active showrooms where they were still selling cars — and building activity had to avoid damaging some very expensive vehicles.

It made for a tight fit. “We had to develop staging areas, and it wasn’t that large of a site. It was a puzzle to make all that work,” recalled Architect Colleen Atwood, of Design & Engineering, P.C. “Johnny (Johnson, the Carden project superintendent) was always sensitive to the owner’s desires and his concerns about his cars — he was very careful about making sure the construction staff stayed on their side of the fence and that the project was cleaned up at night.”

Renovation can be more challenging than starting from the ground up, especially when the existing plans for the building are sketchy at best. Moving into a new section could bring surprises. Colleen noted, “You open something up and you find a different structure than you thought was there; a plumbing line doesn’t go where you thought it went, those kind of things.”

Flexibility and experience in the face of the unforeseeable meant finding effective, quality solutions that kept the budget and schedule under control – a key to any suc­cessful renovation. “Johnny was very much a part of the decision-making, coming up with solutions as problems popped up – the right solution for this particular job” said Colleen Atwood. “He was just very knowledgeable about how things needed to get done. And Rad (York, the Carden project manager) was very helpful, too – if we’d need him to find a plumber who would work over the weekend, he’d go find somebody. He was always very resourceful.”

As with most projects, there were also change orders – from small upgrades all the way to the addition of a car wash about three-quarters of the way through the service area renovation.

Late changes might be hard on schedules and budgets, but they can also be a good indication of satisfaction. As Colleen Atwood said, “We did the initial budget and Martin (Bennett), the owner, decided that was a little more than he wanted to spend, so he cut out some things. Later he added them back in. I think that’s a vote of confi­dence, when the owner comes back and says, ‘I like this so much; I think I want the rest of it.’ The owner was very happy with it.”

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