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Thompson Pontiac ready to move to make way for park

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Thompson Pontiac GMC Cadillac is getting ready to move from its longtime spot on St. Louis Street.

The local new- and used-car dealer has been given a Feb. 1, 2000, deadline to move off the site, said Lynn Thompson, president of the company.

Thompson's property on St. Louis and Trafficway is to be included in the Civic Park project. In order to clear out before the leveling for Civic Park begins, the company has purchased 20 acres at 1555 Independence with two land loans, one with Great Southern for $3.9 million and one from General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) for $2.6 million.

The company then sold 10 acres of the 20 it owns in the area to GMAC, which is where the dealership will be located, and has listed the other 10 acres for sale. Thompson said the company is already set to begin infrastructure work on the site.

"We're ready to go ahead and start the road work. We're moving full speed ahead on the project," Thompson said.

The city and the Thompson company have yet to reach an agreement on the price the city will pay for Thompson's land on St. Louis and Trafficway, which will comprise 5.44 acres of Civic Park. The Thompson property, along with the 1.04-acre Greyhound Bus property, are the last two properties on which the city needs to reach an agreement.

The city signed a contract with Tri-States Service Company Inc. and Borman Investment Company, at 725 and 909 E. Trafficway, 401 N. Sherman, and 301-303 N. Dollison, to purchase those companies' property for the first 35 acres of Civic Park.

The companies are owned by Robert and Joyce Mahoney, and the deal is set to close July 1 with possession on that date. The contract was signed Nov. 23, 1998, and the city is to pay $1.9 million for the 5.68 acres of property. The city also has madeoffers to Sears for its warehouse on Trafficway and to DaBryan Coach Builders for its property on Trafficway. The city has offered $350,000 for the 1.45 acre Sears property and $730,000 for the 1.35 acre DaBryan property.

The city has entered into condemnation proceedings to come to an agreement on the final two properties, and the three independent commissioners who were appointed to the condemnation case held their first meeting March 3, said Howard Wright, city attorney. It is the job of the commissioners to inspect and appraise the property and make a determination as to its value.

Thompson said that the city and his company were close to a deal before the condemnation proceedings began, but they were unable to come to an agreement.

"All in all, we've had pretty good discussions with the city. ... I think the park project is fabulous; I'm just sorry I got stuck in the middle of things," Thompson said.

The Thompson Sales Company also owns a new- and used-car dealership on Campbell Avenue, which it will relocate to the Independence site once it is operational. The new site will consolidate all of the company's sales and service operations, and Thompson said the company will not close either site until the new area is ready to be moved into.

"We plan to move it all bang at once, as soon as we are able," Thompson said.

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