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The owner of Galpin Ford last week signed an agreement to buy an abandoned manufacturing plant in Burbank, where he plans to develop a multi-franchise car dealership that sells and services new and used cars.

“We’ve been looking at this site for a number of years and have very carefully considered it,” said Herbert Boeckmann III, whose Galpin Ford in the San Fernando Valley is the largest Ford dealership in the country.

Conversion of the plant site, which is being sold by Zero Corp., would create Burbank’s second auto dealership.

The only auto dealership currently operating in Burbank is Community Chevrolet, according to City Manager Bud Ovrom.

The agreement provides for an initial option period of 90 days, with a 30-day extension, during which Boeckmann can buy the property for $12.75 million. There is no assurance the option will be exercised, but Boeckmann noted: “We don’t enter into this lightly. When I’m committed to an option, I’m committed to an investment.”

The transaction would delight the city of Burbank, which has tried to recycle the property since it was vacated by Zero in 1991, said Ovrom. And an auto dealership would generate tremendous sales tax revenue for the city.

Ovrom said a number of auto dealers have considered moving into the lot, but this is the furthest that any deal has progressed.

“This is a stupendous site it has great visibility and accessibility,” Ovrom said. “The freeway practically has to bend to get around it.”

Boeckmann said that he and city officials have not yet discussed whether the city would provide financial assistance for the project.

Wilford Godbold, president and chief executive of Zero, said the plant was built in the early 1960s and vacated six years ago, when the company moved some of its manufacuturing operations to Salt Lake City. Zero had used the plant to produce refrigeration systems for computers and packaging for electronic devices.

Since 1991, Zero has leased the location for movie shoots but has held the site available for sale, he said.

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