I Dreamed I Moved Into a 170,000 Square Foot Home on 27.5 Acres With Two Private Car Washes

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empress & CandyCan you imagine a 170,000 square foot space on all that acreage, decked out to the nines in classic modern design with sleek, sophisticated interior finishes? The whitest of white marble is everywhere with hints of grey and tan tones for countertops, lounges, and tabletops. Hardwood floors contrast with shimmering mica walls, sleek glass, and gallery lighting.  Every detail has been meticulously selected by an award-winning team of designers right down to the artwork, which features original works by North Texas artists including my dear friend, Empress Gilbert of Empress Geo Designs, aka the Queen of Rock Crystal. Her beautiful rock crystal sculptures are in the stunning foyer. Truth be told, I am yearning to own a rock crystal lamp or two from her impressive, award-winning collection, and you should, too!Empress Park Place 2

So, whose home is it? Don Carter shedding more real estate? A secret Perot or Hicks outpost? Hello, this is Dallas, where our car dealerships rival the mega mansions on Strait Lane. Welcome to the new house of Park Place Lexus Plano and the one time that a car dealership may be nicer than my house, your house, any house. Like most of us, Park Place Lexus Plano outgrew its digs up there on Preston Road just north of George W. Bush. After 15 expansions and remodels in the last 22 years, they built a brand new dealership and service center from the ground up. It took about 14 months to complete and polish everything, and the move was just three and a half miles from its old Plano location.

10245 Strait Lane ext4939 Manson Court ext 2The cost? I shudder to think. Let’s say they could very well have snapped up Mickey Munir’s $12 million listing at 10245 Strait Lane or Mark Molthan’s 4939 Manson Court for $29,995,000 and called it a day.

Truth be told, Park Place Dealerships probably did some research at those mansions as well at the Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, and Neimans Marcus stores. One of the largest automobile dealership groups in the country, Park Place has always measured itself against luxury brands and companies with histories of impeccable service, rather than car dealerships or (heavens) mechanics.

Situated on 27.5 acres, the new dealership site overlooks the Dallas North toll road through the heart of North Texas. With tens of thousands of vehicles passing through the Dallas North Tollway and Spring Creek Parkway every day, Park Place designed the exterior elevation to maximize the visibility of the dealership.

“We have created a beautiful blade wall that starts at 35 feet on one end and rises to 50 feet at the other with the Lexus emblem sitting at the top of the wall,” said Ken Schnitzer, founder and Chairman of Park Place Dealerships. “It will be difficult to miss our new location.  The architecture of this dealership draws attention from both the northbound and southbound traffic to Park Place Lexus Plano.”

That it does.  Nearly twice the size of the previous dealership, you might find yourself wanting to spend more time here than at your actual home.

“We spent countless hours with the design team selecting materials to create a comfortable environment,” said Jordan Case, President and Managing Partner of Park Place Lexus. “Everything we chose, we designed with the client in mind such as the six foot marble bar in the beverage center, and the furniture in the sales offices. We continually asked ourselves how these choices would impact the client experience.”

A marble bar? A beverage center? I’m telling you, this is the Dream Garage concept for free, IF you own a Lexus.

There are no less than five client lounges, where guests (never people getting their cars repaired)  will be able to choose the perfect spot to relax to coincide with their mood. Do you get a mood ring upon entering? No, but the main client lounge will be a hub to gather for complimentary beverages and snacks or to read, watch television, or shop in the Lexus boutique. I think there’s a boardroom if you need one, too.

If you need to work on some deals, there are private workstations with custom desks and even access to computers and telephones. There is also a children’s play area they will not want to leave.

Right from the start, you will feel more like you have just arrived at a very exclusive fractional vacation home: a greeter meets you at the front door, along with Empress’ crystals –to give you the “agenda” for your visit, be it to buy a car or get your’s tuned. There is no more receptionist.

“If the receptionist is answering the phone, she cannot greet guests and may leave them waiting,” says Carolyn Alvey of Aardvark Communications. “The receptionist answering the phone is upstairs. Dedicated greeters will be at the front door whose sole focus will be welcoming and directing clients.”

I would like them to direct me to the spa. Alvey told me that Ken Schnitzer is a huge fan of Apple stores, and has designed a whole “genius bar” area where clients can come in for assistance with the (increasingly) complex electronics and computers Lexuses come equipped with.

Like I said, this is better than home — even Tom Hicks doesn’t have a home genuis bar at home, I don’t think.

As for the “home away from home” for your Lexus, it will be logged in from a 7,000 square foot, five-lane service drive. From then your Lexus will be pampered and primped in one of 109 service bays and 15 make ready bays, by technicians wearing the designer-enhanced, Park Place equivalent of mechanics clothes, with state-of-the-art equipment in a well-lit, air-conditioned, and heated environment.

The floor is so clean, you can eat off it.

A guest lounge overlooks the service shop so clients can watch their vehicles undergoing service. RFID tracking points will track each car as it comes into the drive, into the shop, out of the shop and into the complimentary car wash, of which there are now two.  They have doubled the number of alignment racks, have a four lane vacuum area for those two car washes, and twice the space to park vehicles so techs won’t be moving cars all over tarnation 24/7. Here is something you may never hear again at Park Place: “we need to order your part.” There is a three-story parts department to house more than 13,000 parts and allow Park Place to stock more items, thus reducing the wait time for new parts and a return trip.

Not that you won’t want to return to this.

Park Place 9.26.13 (7)Park Place 9.26.13 (6)Park Place 9.26.13 (4)Ken Schnitzer founded Park Place Dealerships in 1987 with a single Mercedes-Benz dealership in Dallas.  Today, Park Place Dealerships operates 15 full-service dealerships representing Bentley, Jaguar, Lexus, Lotus, Maserati, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Infiniti, Volvo and Rolls-Royce. In addition, the dealership group includes two Park Place Bodywerks locations and has a third store under construction. I guess Ken just said hey, we have these cars and they need maintenance, repair, so let’s just make the experience as incredibly luxurious and over the top as we can for our clients.

Then, when he threw the first in a series of parties for at least 3500 clients September 26, he said, make it a party that will go down in history! That it did. If you have not had a chance to visit, stop by October 15 or 22 from 6 to 8 pm. At the rate this place is throwing parties, we are going to think this is Faye briggs’ home!

Actually they wanted it to be, one salesman told me,  better than home. Well, at Park Place Lexus Plano, they have succeeded!



Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

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