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President Delbert Ray, Sr. talks to news stations live after the groundbreaking for the Scottsdale Auto Mall at Salt River, located on Pima Road and Indian School Road.
Groundbreaking for the Scottsdale Auto Mall at Salt River
By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community recently broke ground for the Scottsdale Auto Mall, the first of its kind to be built on tribal land, on December 4. The auto mall will encompass a 70-acre parcel at the Loop 101 Pima Freeway and Indian School Road.

Guest speakers for the event were SRPMIC President Delbert Ray, Sr.; Eddie Davault, CEO of Chapman Automotive Group; and Jim Mullin, of Mullin360, an automotive real estate company. After the opening prayer by Council member Tom Largo, Sr., President Ray welcomed the guests to the Community.

“It is my pleasure to announce our development [which] will be a master-planned auto park called the Scottsdale Auto Mall at Salt River,” said Ray. “This will inject fresh new energy along this area off the 101 Freeway. This will bring jobs to the East Valley and add a superior auto-buying experience.”

The Chapman Auto Group, which features Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Volkswagen and Ford, is relocating from its McDowell Road location in Scottsdale as well as other auto parks in the Valley to this new complex off the Pima Freeway.

Those with shovels at the groundbreaking were President Ray; SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier; Council Members Jenelle Howard, Mike Dallas, Tom Largo, Deanna Scabby, Archie Kashoya, David Antone and Ricardo Leonard; and Devault and Mullin.

“This has been a long journey, and we are extremely happy to be here,” said Devault. “We think this location will be one of the best in the Valley, and we think this location can turn into the best in the nation.”

The group has spoken for 26 acres on which will be developed nine or 10 facilities, three different car lots and 200,000 square feet of buildings, with 200 to 400 employees.

Mullin said this is a first for Chapman Auto Group and the SRPMIC. The deal provides funding for Community education, health and other items, and the auto mall complements the existing facilities of the Talking Stick Cultural and Entertainment Destination.

“We had to research the potential; we wouldn’t be standing here if we did not think there was potential, and confirm to make sure we will do well,” said Mullin.

President Ray discussed his vision just a year ago when becoming president. “What I wanted to see when I came in as president was alternative revenue streams away from our full dependence on the gaming dollar,” Ray said. “For us this creates a really good opportunity. It’s the only one of its kind in Indian Country, and so already from the dealership we have strong commitments of what they are going to do here, and for me it’s a continuance to provide quality services to our people.”

“Personally, I am glad this is done. Right now we have to maintain what is best for our people. This is a very low-risk, high-return business venture, and those are the things you want to get in on … as fast as you can or get left behind,” said Ray.

The project is set to open in January 2017.

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