The Long Beach City Council has unanimously approved a $600,000 loan to Cal Worthington’s Ford dealership to keep the business from leaving town.

One of Long Beach’s 10 largest sales tax revenue generators, Worthington Ford threatened to leave the city in March after Ford Motor Co. offered it incentives to move farther away from another Ford dealership. The dealership asked the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to broker a deal with the city to help it stay.

The money is slated to be used to update and expand the business. Money for the loan will come from a federally funded Community Development Block Grant and have a 5 percent annual interest rate. The Council took the action late Tuesday.

“The proposed loan is the right investment to retain this important company so they can expand and grow their operations at a time when more jobs and much needed revenue impacts every citizen in Long Beach,” Chamber President Randy Gordon said during a presentation at the council meeting.

The dealership is owned by octogenarian Cal Worthington, who rose to prominence with decades of playful television commercials featuring his “dog” Spot. The expanded dealership is expected to generate roughly $10 million in city tax revenue over the next decade.

Read an earlier Business Journal story.

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