Brandon Steven buys two more California dealerships, but cars aren’t the only draw

·3 min read
File photo

Brandon Steven has purchased two more California dealerships, but this time, cars aren’t the only draw.

“I really bought the real estate,” Steven said.

That’s because his purchase of Harbor Chevrolet and Harbor Hyundai in Long Beach came with 10 acres of land.

That compares to the less than an acre that came with Steven’s 2020 purchase of Honda of Downtown Los Angeles.

“So that’s a big swing,” Steven said.

The longtime family business, which has recently been run by the third generation, will be 100 years old next year.

“So it’s pretty cool,” Steven said.

Unlike with his purchase of Honda, which was $80 million, Steven won’t say how much these dealerships cost, though he said the price is comparable.

Like he did with the Honda purchase, Steven plans a new building for his two new dealerships. Unlike with the Honda building — where he had to build up with six stories due to the lack of land — Steven plans to build across his 10 acres by simultaneously doing demolition one section at a time while building the new building and continuing to operate the businesses.

“I’m going to make a hell of a building,” he said.

The existing building is old with a lot of additions and patches, Steven said. Because of how he’ll be building the new building, it likely will take a couple of years.

Steven said the pace of doing business in California causes delays in the process, too — not that he’s complaining, he is quick to point out.

“Everything is just slow,” Steven said. “I mean, it literally takes six months to get your plan through review.”

If he needs a couple of different city or county departments to communicate on something, he has to hire an expediter to do the communicating.

“Everything there is a process.”

Steven said he takes for granted how easy it is to do business in Kansas and the Midwest.

“They’re so business friendly,” he said. “They want to bring everything together.”

In the Los Angeles area, Steven said that “it’s just a different way of doing business.”

“That’s the con. The pro is the population,” he said. “There’s just people everywhere there.”

There will be a familiar face at the dealerships.

Scott Pitman, Steven’s longtime friend and former partner in Wichita dealerships, including Suzuki, Subaru and Super Car Guys, is now operating partner for the California Chevrolet and Hyundai dealerships.

Pitman and his wife, Michelle, have been out of the car business and focusing on real estate deals and ministry.

“Every time I have a new project, I just entice him a little bit,” Steven said.

“It’s always been a dream of ours to live in southern California,” Scott Pitman said.

Specifically, he and his wife have been interested in Orange County, and Pitman said Long Beach is the last city leaving Los Angeles County before heading into Orange County, and they decided it was close enough.

As Steven put it, “It really fits his vibe more than the downtown one did.”

The Pitmans have purchased a California house and are keeping their one in Wichita, too.

“I have grandkids there, so I’m not willing to leave,” Scott Pitman said.

Nor is Steven even though he’s close on a deal for a fourth California dealership.

“Wichita’s my town,” Steven said. “This is where I live. I love it here.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting