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Used car dealer Nicky D's moves to Northampton

  • <br/>Nicky D's in Easthmapton.
  • <br/>left, Nicky and Betty Duprey stand in front of what will be Nicky D's in Northampton Wednesday afternoon.
  • New landscaping at what will be  what will be Nicky D's in Northampton Wednesday afternoon.

Nicky D’s, located at 164 Northampton St. for more than three decades, plans to relocate its sales division into the old Cahillane building at 375 South St. next spring, said Betty Duprey, who owns Nicky D’s with her husband, Nicholas.

The move is necessary because of the pending replacement of a Route 10 bridge in downtown Easthampton, she said. That project will close the highway for several months near the center of Easthampton, detouring through traffic around Nicky D’s and other businesses.

“Our portion of Route 10 will be a dead zone,” said Duprey. “This move will make it as easy as possible for our customers.”

She said the couple does not want two locations for the long haul. They intend the move to be temporary — for the duration of the bridge project — but will re-evaluate that idea in a year. The business will continue to operate mechanical and body shops at its Easthampton location.

The Northampton site may also house a new microbrewery and another office tenant, though no deals have been inked. Duprey said the couple is in talks with O’Brian Tomalin, who owns the Sierra Grille in Northampton, who wants to lease space to manufacture beer that would be shipped out locally.

The Dupreys had also intended to create space in the building for a hair salon their daughter co-owns called To Dye For Hair & Skin, which also is located on Route 10 in Easthampton and will be affected by the bridge project. Those plans have since been scrapped and the couple is in the process of buying the building the salon is in at 66A Northampton St.

The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals has scheduled a public hearing Dec. 13 to go over plans. The dealership will also need approval to sell vehicles in the city from the License Commission.

The Dupreys bought the former Cahillane dealership in May for $675,000. At the time, Richard and Christopher Cahillane had been negotiating to lease the 14,000-square-foot space to a local information technology company. Those negotiations broke down, paving the way for the Dupreys to buy the building.

Since acquiring the building, Nicky D’s has made aesthetic improvements to the site’s parking lot, including planting 25 trees and creating landscaped islands that will feature flowers and other plants. The couple also paid to construct a sidewalk in front of the site.

“Our goal is to make the site conducive to the neighborhood,” said Duprey, noting that her husband used to ride his bike in the area as a child.

Plans call for dividing the building into four sections, with the nine-employee dealership taking half of the space closest to the sales lot, where about 100 used cars will be displayed. The Dupreys would like to open in the new space by March 1.

It won’t be Nicky D’s first foray into Northampton. Several years ago the dealership opened a small satellite office on King Street that housed about 15 vehicles.

The South Street site is returning to its roots as a car dealership. After more than 70 years in business, the Cahillanes sold the Cahillane Dodge franchise to Bertera Enterprises of West Springfield in 2006, but remained the property’s owner. The dealership closed in 2008, and since then was briefly used as the site of the Northampton Survival Center and a flea market.

‘Outskirts’ on the horizon

Tomalin said he hopes to brew beer in 3,800-square feet of leased space in the South Street building.

“We’re still waiting on the Dec. 13 Zoning Board of Appeals hearing, but eventually it will be a small commercial brewery,” he said Wednesday. “We’ve talked about calling it ‘Outskirts.’ ”

Although he was a home brewer for 15 years, Tomalin said area brewer Michael Yates will be his brewmaster.

Tomalin said that before buying the Sierra Grille, he managed the Amherst Brewing Co. and worked at other breweries around New England.

His vision for the future Outskirts Brewery may eventually include a restaurant at the location that would serve lunch and dinner, he said.

Bridge closing

Meantime, state officials have said the Route 10 bridge project is still slated to begin next spring. While the $3.75 million project is slated to take 16 months to complete, the state Department of Transportation estimates the bridge will be completely closed for six months.

During that time, traffic will be detoured on O’Neill, Lovefield and Pleasant streets, although drivers also can use West Street to bypass the city center.

At a September forum to explain the project to residents and business owners, DOT officials said contractors will likely put up signs that alert drivers that the bridge is closed but that businesses are open.

Staff Writer Rebecca Everett contributed to this story.

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