Napa Ford Building Reuse Sets the Stage

During college, Kevin Massie worked at Owens Corning, which produces residential and commercial building materials. Selling insulation, he learned a little about construction and the benefits of using recycled materials and energy-efficient products. But Massie, now president of Napa Ford, Napa’s only authorized Ford Lincoln dealership, had no idea that he would one day serve as a model for others when it comes to energy efficiency.


Massie opened his dealership in 2003. Knowing that his lease would eventually expire, he immediately began looking for a place to relocate his business in the future. He knew it would take some time, as there were a limited number of sites that could accommodate his needs and it was important to find a location that would be convenient for his customers. Massie had determined that he could save money by buying an existing building and converting it to a dealership, so that was also a consideration in his search. 

In 2011, luck was on his side, and he purchased 570 Soscol from the Al Lyon property trust. First developed in the 1940s for Berglund Tractor, the property later became home to Al Lyon Motors, a Volkswagen dealership, and Greenberg’s Quality Motors. In late 2012, Massie started renovations on the 3.52-acre property and 45,000 square-foot building (more than an acre under one roof). 

“I characterize the project as a time warp,” he said. “We’ve taken an icon of the past and made it modern.” In homage to Berglund, historical photos from the building’s days as a Caterpillar dealership now adorn the walls at Napa Ford.

Vincent “Buzz” Butler with Lake Street Ventures served as the owner’s representative from acquisition through design and construction management. Butler, whose  team included architect Wayne Holland who worked closely with Ford, theCity of Napa, and the intricacies of remodeling a 67-year-old building, is proud of the renovation. “Ford now has a premier location along Soscol Avenue in Napa, in a building 20,000 square feet larger than a typical dealership, but at 40 percent lower cost than a typical newly constructed facility,” he said.


The renovation was a major project. Not much had been done to the property since the 1940s, and asbestos had to be removed before construction could begin. The entire building was remodeled inside, with new floors, walls and heating-ventilation systems, and the original windows and electrical system were replaced. In the end, Massie invested more than $5 million in the project, including the purchase of the land.

“I wanted an energy-efficient building with low energy cost,” Massie said. To that end, he recycled materials from buildings on the property that were demolished, added skylights for natural light, installed energy-efficient LED lights outside, and took advantage of PG&E and Napa County Energy Watch’s rebate program, securing over $11,000 in rebates for changing out all the lighting to energy-efficient lights. He is already seeing a significant reduction on his energy costs, but Massie’s long-term goal is to go solar and have zero energy bills.


“I am so pleased to have been able to keep my dealership in Napa,” said Massie. “It’s one of the best-looking buildings in Napa, and my family will have a legacy to hold onto.” The building also serves as an example to others looking to build their businesses in sustainable ways.

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