The North East’s largest independent motor group, Benfield has continued its capital investment programme with the opening of a new £5.8 million dealership.
The new flagship Ford development is located on Newcastle Road, Sunderland and officially opened its doors to customers in January 2014. Following an eight month construction period the development is now one of the largest Ford dealerships in the region and one which Benfield is very proud of.
Benfield’s Chief Executive, Mark Squires, said:
“We are delighted with this impressive new Ford development and to be again flying the flag so brightly for Ford in Sunderland.
“The Ford brand is steeped in tradition and has a great and successful history in this region. Moving into Sunderland in this way is a natural geographic fit for Benfield and we are very much looking forward to developing and expanding the Benfield brand and reputation in Wearside.
“The development took eight months to construct, created 45 jobs and is a tremendous example of the Benfield and Ford brands working together to provide a world-class retail experience with unrivalled customer service.”
ESH Group was the main contractor on the new showroom, whilst Barnett North LLP was the architectural practice on the project and Fusion Construction provided QS and project management services.
The project was turned around in a very quick timeframe after Barnett North LLP designed a masterplan for the site. Barnett North LLP has a longstanding working relationship with Benfield, making them the ideal choice for the scheme.
Prior to the creation of the new showroom, a temporary ‘Pop-up’ site was built, allowing Benfield to begin trading ahead of their new facilities.
Speaking to Premier Construction, Warren Barnett of Barnett North LLP Chartered Architects, explained:
“This was a very complex and fast track project, involving three trading strategies and three distinct building typologies, developed by working closely with the Chief Executive and Chairman of the Benfield Group.
“The day we got planning permission for the site’s masterplan, we established a trading presence with three Port-a cabins, allowing Benfield to operate from day one and ensure the Ford presence was maintained in the City as the previous incumbent had ceased trading the same day.
“Whilst Benfield were trading from the Port-a-cabins we built a full eight-car ‘Pop-up’ showroom with associated workshops in eight weeks – a phenomenal achievement, with client and contractor (Esh) working closely together to meet Benfield’s aspirations for a quality temporary dealership with which to establish its Wearside presence from the outset.
“With the ‘Pop-up’ showroom in place we then continued remediating the rest of the site and finalising the design for the main Ford showroom, known as the Blue Box, who’s design was developed by working closely with the Benfield team. Once signed off by the client, the job was then tendered on a design and build basis and construction work on the main showroom began. The Blue Box was completed on budget and delivered to the client two weeks ahead of programme.”
Benfield already has a strong relationship with the Ford brand with four existing dealerships in West and North Yorkshire.
The new state-of-the-art showroom has the capabilities of accommodating 12 cars, allowing for a full display of the Ford range. The development also includes a workshop boasting the latest diagnostics technology.
The site includes space for more than 80 used cars, has ample customer car parking facilities and will provide customers with a full after sales service. The dealership also showcases a Transit Van Centre, as well as business user facilities to cater for the requirements of local businesses.
The new showroom in Sunderland marks the first new build for Benfield in ten years, so is understandably a very significant project for the motor group.
Benfield Motor Group employs more than 1,500 staff and has 34 retail outlets throughout the North East of England, Yorkshire, Cumbria and South West Scotland across a portfolio of 16 car retail brands. Benfield Motor Group is an independently owned family business founded in Newcastle in 1957 by John Squires Senior.
For more information about Benfield, please visit: www.drivebenfield.com.