A new $2.2 million car wash on the busy Bechtle Avenue-North Street corridor will bring 11 jobs to the area later this year and fill a vacant property.
GooGoo Express Wash, a national franchise based out of Columbus, Ga., will likely begin construction in July on the site at 1411 W. North St. It is expected to open before the end of the year.
The company has locations in 12 states, including three in Columbus, Ohio, and two in Kentucky.
The Springfield Board of Zoning Appeals approved a conditional use permit for the business this week by a vote of 6-0, despite objections from one local car wash owner.
Bryan Heck, the city’s planning and zoning administrator, said it’s a great opportunity for a new commercial development at a location that’s been vacant for some time.
“Any time you can bring jobs to the community, it’s a good thing,” Heck said. “I think it’ll be a good fit for that area. It’s a high-traffic volume area and should see success in that location.”
Roger Beck, one of the co-owners of the location, said he’s excited about the Springfield market.
“This city just meets everything that we like to do demographic-wise,” Beck said. “It’s just a really great city.”
Construction will begin as soon as possible, Beck said, with a target start date in July. The business plans to hire a local manager and local employees.
“We try to make our customers feel very safe,” Beck said.
Drivers will enter at Parker Court and travel through a payment kiosk before entering the car wash.
The Board of Zoning Appeals members had concerns about traffic flow on Parker Court, but the car wash’s design will allow for two entrance lanes that merge into one lane as drivers enter the business. Beck said about 20 cars can wait at one point.
“At peak times, we can process 135 cars per hour,” Beck said. “We keep them moving pretty well.”
Todd Roderick, a local car wash owner, spoke to the board about his concerns about another car wash location in the city.
“This will make four car washes in a mile-and-a-half of the area,” Roderick said. “Economically, I don’t know if this part of the area can support it.”
He also had concerns about the company’s non-local ties. According to public documents, Roderick is one of the owners of TMJK Enterprises LLC, which owns a nearby car wash at 150 N. Bechtle Ave.
“We’ll see them now, and we’ll never see them again,” Roderick said.
Beck responded to those concerns, saying he’s “very involved” with his businesses, employees and the community.
BZA board member Asim Haque said he understood Roderick’s concerns, but said a conditional use permit isn’t granted based on big picture assessments of a property.
“From our perspective, we have kind of a narrow scope of how to grant or deny an application in front of us,” Haque said. “We hear your concerns and understand your concerns, but we have to analyze this from a certain lens, and that lens is set forth by the Springfield city code.”