Hundreds of people, probably a thousand, gathered for the gala opening of the new home of Lexus Santa Monica on Thursday evening, April 19, in the old Cummings Buick building at 1501 Santa Monica Boulevard. But after $9 million in renovations and tenant improvements, there is nothing “old” about the Lexus space except the early California décor.
Champagne, hors d’oeuvres and live music flowed among the guests who crowded the 28,000 square feet of showroom and office space featuring tile floors, fountains, decorated ceilings and wrought iron chandeliers.
LA Car Guy Mike Sullivan, principal of the enterprise, took the bandstand microphone at one point and explained that the huge rear showroom (through which one enters the building from the valet porte-cochere off 15th Street, and which is nearly twice the size of the front showroom along Santa Monica Boulevard) was once the Buick service department, with lift racks, hoists and metal garage doors.
AT THE OPENING: (left to right) James Colon, Lexus national Vice President, Sales and Dealer Development; Deborah Meyer, Vice President, Marketing; Mike Sullivan, LA Car Guy and agency proprietor; Jane Carter; and Bob Carter, Group Vice President and General Manager for Lexus Division. photo by Adam Latham
A thousand guests helped Lexus Santa Monica open its new showroom at 1501 Santa Monica Boulevard on April 19 with champagne, hors d’oeuvres and live music. The $9 million renovation of the old Cummings Buick building features an early California décor. photos by Adam Latham.
(The Lexus service department remains at 25th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard while it builds out a new one at the former post office property on Colorado Avenue at 11th Street; its “pre-owned” lot is across Santa Monica Boulevard from the new showroom.)
Sullivan introduced Lexus national Vice President for Sales and Dealer Development James H. Colon and thanked the Lexus organization for its help in making the move a reality.
Lexus Santa Monica was at 25th and Santa Monica since the line was launched in 1989; this move takes it from a showroom that displayed three cars to one that displays 16, from six sales offices to 23. Don Mushin, who had been general manager of the agency and oversaw plans for the new facility, has recently moved to take over Sullivan’s Toyota of Hollywood. Sean Sullivan is the new general manager of Lexus Santa Monica.
The early California design of the new building was executed by RTK Architects, who designed the Simonson Mercedes-Benz building on Wilshire and whose senior principal and president is Santa Monica City Councilmember Herb Katz. The general contractor on the project was Sauers Brothers Construction.