McLean Cadillac, a fixture in downtown Santa Ana since 1939 and one of the county's oldest auto dealerships, will move to the new Tustin Auto Center early next year if all goes as planned, the firm's president said Wednesday.
Mike McLean said the decision to move from Santa Ana was based primarily on the Tustin center's location near the Santa Ana Freeway and the proposed extension of Jamboree Boulevard.
Santa Ana, he said, had made a "very sincere and generous offer" in an attempt to keep McLean Cadillac, and an East 1st Street site near the freeway was "a very close second to the Tustin site."
Santa Ana City Manager Robert C. Bobb said, "We certainly hate to see them move, but it's strictly a business decision. They believe the Tustin site offers a better marketplace position."
Santa Ana "will be making a very strong push for a Cadillac dealership," Bobb said. There are currently four of the luxury car dealerships in Orange County.
Both cities are pushing ahead with plans for large auto centers. The Tustin center, to be built by the Irvine Co., received final City Council approval earlier this week, and construction is expected to begin later this year.
Tustin City Manager Bill Huston Wednesday said his city's center has provisions for about 11 dealerships and commitments from "six or eight." The center will be operating at peak capacity in three to five years, he said.
"I think both cities have concluded there will be two (centers); the question is the distribution of dealers between the two," Huston said.