A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

From car lot to body shop

Written February 21st, 2018 by Hasso Hering

The new owner of the former MTM car lot on Ellsworth is also a part-owner of AA Towing, which explains the tow trucks parked there lately as advertising.

The former GMC and Buick car lot at 505 Ellsworth St. S.W. in Albany is destined to become a body shop. That’s the word from Steven R. Perlenfein, owner of Main Auto Body, who bought the property from Mark and Kathleen Thomas last month.

When I reached him Wednesday, Perlenfein told me he plans to move his body and paint shops to the former Mark Thomas Motors car dealership, which occupied the city block between Ellsworth and Lyon streets and Fifth and Sixth avenues until it closed last summer. He plans to sell or lease his present body shop locations, on First and Second avenues.

He has an architect working on a 3,000-square-foot addition on the car lot. And he won’t need the former show room, which he hopes to convert to office space.

What with getting bids for the construction and city permits and land use approvals, Perlenfein figures that by the time he’s be in business at his new address it will be the end of the year.

The Linn County tax department says Perlenfein’s company, 300 East First Avenue LLC, bought the former car lot on Jan. 26 for $1,050,000. The county had pegged the assessed value at $1.3 million. Last year’s property taxes on the site were $25,276.

Together with Vann Beckner, Perlenfein also owns AA Towing. That’s why for a few weeks, tow trucks have been parked on both the Lyon and Ellsworth sides of the site. Might as well use the place for advertising while it’s sitting vacant with no other use. (hh)

7 responses to “From car lot to body shop”

  1. Delfina Hoxie says:

    I wish Main Auto Body well. I am just saddened that one of the main entrances/exits to our town is not going to a business that will bring more people into town. All that land could have been used for several shops that would spruce up the area. A bakery, a clothing and shoe store, a book store. We have auto body shops on many of the side streets where they are not so visible. Sorry, Main Auto, just my opinion.

    • Joe Studier. says:

      We have many nice businesses downtown. How much competition do you think these small shops can go up against? Building it does not mean business I.e. wheelhouse…

      • Delfina Hoxie says:

        The City has spent thousands of dollars to make downtown presentable to visitors and Main Auto will be in the heart of the area. It does not compute in my mind. The more small shops and boutiques the more people show up with money to spend. If I want to buy something nice I have to go to Salem or Eugene for a dress or pair of shoes.

    • centrist says:

      As a child, I could walk a bakery, a shoe, and a book store. The bakeries are in the supermarkets. Shoes and clothing are pretty much everywhere. Books have gone electronic.” If wishes were horses, then beggars could ride.”
      Can’t say that I’d choose a body shop as the greeting point, but apparently the have the money to make it happen.If they keep the wrecks hidden and show the product, it’s the same display.

  2. Mary Brock says:

    Folks. You cannot go back to 1940s and 50s. A bakery is already planned for Elite Town (my new name for Downtown Albany). You can buy clothes at Emma’s and Natty Dresser. Be glad that the property will have a business (Main Auto Body) that can remain solvent and stay in business.


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