Budd Baer dealership expanding to former state police barracks property

Katie Anderson

Observer Reporter

A car dealership in Washington plans to expand by the end of the year with two new buildings at the site of the former state police barracks at 83 Murtland Ave.

Mark Baer, the owner of Budd Baer Inc., purchased the property and barracks building for about $751,000 in a closed bid last April.

Baer said he plans to tear down the police building and build two new ones – a Mazda building and GMC and Buick building. The building he’s in now, which sits next door on Murtland and holds Mazda, Subaru, GMC and Buick vehicles, will be fully remodeled and become solely a Subaru dealership.

“Right now, we’re all in this one building,” Baer said. “We are too crowded to take care of our customers the way we would like.”

Baer declined to say how much the project would cost the company, but he called it a “large investment that’s good for this city.” He said the expansion would add 15 to 20 jobs, including eight technician positions. He plans to have it completed by the end of the year.

The company started with Baer’s father, Budd Baer, in the 1940s. The family bought the building they are in now in 1975.

In 2003, they lost the back half of the building in a fire, which caused about $4 million in damage to the service department, parts department, collision center, general office and a file and computer room. He said the showroom also sustained heavy smoke and water damage, but they were able to rebuild.

Since then, Baer said the company has continued to grow.

“I hope it’s because we do a good job – that’s the goal,” he said. “People demand quality.”

Baer is scheduled to go before the city’s planning commission today for a conditional-use application to demolish the old barracks building.