Newport Beach to Weigh Plan to Keep Auto Dealer in City


A plan to keep the nation's No. 2 Mercedes-Benz dealer and its $500,000 in annual sales tax revenue in town goes to the Newport Beach City Council on Monday.

Under the proposal, the Irvine Co. would give the city an eight-acre parcel on Jamboree Road in return for new agreements on the fees the company would be charged to develop its remaining Newport Beach properties.

The city would then transfer title to the land to Fletcher Jones Motorcars, which now occupies an eight-acre facility on Quail Street. The city would pay the $155,000 title transfer fee--a cost, officials say, that is less than a third of one year's revenue from the sales taxes the dealership generates. Fletcher Jones Motorcars is the city's largest single source of sales tax revenue.

The proposed new site is at Jamboree Road and University Drive. The city would also assist Jones in acquiring an adjacent one-acre site owned by the state so that the dealer's new facility would total nine acres.

Owner Fletcher Jones Jr. said last year that he was considering moving out of Newport Beach to expand and improve the dealership's visibility. Quail is a street inside an office park, and the Mercedes dealership receives little exposure to heavily traveled freeways and major streets in the area.

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