Orangewood RV logoThere are exceptions to the grim rules of today’s bleak economy, and two of them are on the same northwest corner of I-10 and South Palo Verde Road in Tucson, Ariz., according to the Arizona Daily Star.

There, in a city full of vacant commercial real estate, an agent was able to lease out a purpose-built retail facility and huge lot just two weeks after it was vacated.

And the incoming tenant is a new RV center, from an industry that has been hurting from the 1-2-3 punch of high gas prices, a tough recession and tight money.

Mark Treacy, owner of Orangewood RV Center, of Surprise, plans to open a new Tucson full-service RV dealership around March 1 on the property occupied by Arizona Honda until just two weeks ago.

The center will sell new fifth-wheel RVs, travel trailers and toy haulers.

Treacy said the dealership will carry new products by Keystone RV Co., including the Montana, Mountaineer, Big Sky, Raptor, Fuzion, Outback, Hornet, Hideout, Sidney, Cougar, High Country and Bullet lines; Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC’s Sundance, North Trail, Edge and Graystone lines; and Eclipse’s Attitude toy hauler.

Treacy said he signed a deal with RV manufacturer Keystone to give Orangewood exclusive rights to sell new Keystone products in southern Arizona.

The current local authorized dealer for most Keystone lines, Beaudry RV,will no longer carry Keystone, confirmed Beaudry’s vice president for operations, Dundee Kelbel.

Kelbel said Beaudry has signed on to carry the Forest River Inc. line of RV products, including Class A, B and C motorcoach lines, but will continue to sell remaining Keystone inventory.

Beaudry RV, like many RV dealerships nationwide, has gone through bankruptcy and dropped some product lines. Beaudry emerged from bankruptcy protection last summer and has since reported some gains in parts of its business, which includes sales, parts, service and a large RV guest park.

Treacy said Orangewood will also sell used RVs and offer consignment sales of all types and makes of RVs, as well as offering service, parts and detailing.

In six months to a year, Treacy said, he plans to open a collision center to repair damaged RVs. That may be built on adjacent land or at a separate location.

Treacy said Orangewood RV Center, founded in 2004, has grown conservatively in the Surprise and Sun City area northwest of Phoenix, allowing it to make this move. The company is owned by Treacy and his wife, Cynthia.

“We’ve structured our overhead in a way that allows us to maintain profitability,” Treacy said. He said financing on RVs just “a year ago was impossible, but it’s a little better.”

He said the company would open with 12 employees in Tucson, and plans to expand the work force here to 40.

The 28,500-square-foot facility Orangewood is leasing on an 8.3-acre lot at the northwest corner of South Palo Verde Road and Interstate 10 was custom built in 2004 for Arizona Honda by Tucson commercial real estate development and leasing firm Larsen Baker.

Arizona Honda closed last month after a two-year downturn in sales.

“In these days of gloom and doom, look how quickly this got leased,” said Andy Seleznov, of Larsen Baker.

But Seleznov said the deal didn’t happen quite as miraculously as it may appear. He said Larsen Baker had some warning the property might become vacant and had done some scouting for possible tenants.