Business & Real Estate

Former auto dealer site at Howe and Fair Oaks sells

The Hubacher Auto Center at 1 Cadillac Drive in Sacramento is shown in 2008.
The Hubacher Auto Center at 1 Cadillac Drive in Sacramento is shown in 2008. Sacramento Bee file

A longtime auto dealership site at the busy intersection of Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard in Sacramento has sold and likely will become a retail center, according to one of the local brokers involved in the deal.

Mike Luca, vice president with the Sacramento office of commercial real estate services firm CBRE, said escrow closed Monday on nearly 6.5 acres at 1 Cadillac Drive, originally the home of Hubacher Cadillac.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Likewise, the name of the buyer has not yet been disclosed.

What is known is that Pennsylvania-based Armstrong Development Properties Inc., which has a regional office in Sacramento, bought nearly 1 acre of adjacent land from the city of Sacramento in November for $255,000. In city documents on the council-approved purchase, it was noted that “Armstrong requires the land in order to accommodate development of the adjacent site with commercial retail buildings.”

Armstrong officials contacted Monday declined to comment.

Luca said the sellers were officials of two long-standing local auto dealers – the Wayne Kuni trust and affiliated partner Lee Castonguay. Castonguay’s son, Brian, is the current general manager of Kuni Chevrolet Cadillac at Fulton and El Camino avenues in Sacramento.

The site’s history as an auto dealership dates back to the early 1970s. It was the longtime site of Hubacher Cadillac.

Luca said the new owner probably will raze the building, which has been vacant for more than three years, and development on the property might begin in late 2015 or early 2016. “Very likely, it will become retail; it’s ideal for retail,” he said. Access points to the property will be improved, he said.

Luca said the building that once housed the Hubacher Cadillac showroom has deteriorated over time. “There was not any value attached to the building. It was really a land sale,” he said.

The CBRE listing for the property noted that it is “located at one of the busiest intersections in the Sacramento region with over 80,000 cars per day.”

Prior to the site being abandoned, it was an auto-selling hot spot.

Longtime Sacramento dealer Elmer Hubacher, who died in 2009, opened Hubacher Cadillac there in 1972. He later added Saab imports to his inventory. In 1981, Lee Castonguay partnered with Wayne Kuni to acquire Hubacher Cadillac when Elmer Hubacher retired.

In 2007, Brian Castonguay announced plans to turn the site into a “General Motors superstore.” Three years later, Castonguay decided to become part of the “Auto Row” revival on Fulton Avenue.

The old Hubacher site saw its final days as an auto-selling site when longtime Chevrolet dealer Mike Daugherty sold his Chevrolet dealership on the corner of Fulton and El Camino avenues, clearing the way for Brian Castonguay to move his GM operations to 2449 Fulton Ave. In September this year, his Kuni Chevrolet Cadillac opened its newly renovated Sacramento showroom and service facility at Fulton and El Camino avenues.

The former Hubacher site has sat empty since about August 2010.

Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.