The Harrelson Nissan dealership in Rock Hill is suing the Nissan car company for denying Harrelson's relocation request to move from Cherry Road to a property it owns off S.C. 161.
Instead, the automaker wants the dealership to honor a contract to build a new facility on Riverchase Boulevard - also off Celanese Road - despite the cost to the Rock Hill dealership and factors that would make the Riverview Road location more desirable.
During the fall of 2009, Harrelson obtained the Rock Hill Nissan dealership franchise which is located at 2574 Cherry Road, according to the lawsuit filed in York County this month. Part of that agreement included acquiring property nearby on Riverchase Boulevard and opening a new Nissan facility there by November 2011.
Harrelson owns the property on Riverview Road where the Toyota of Rock Hill sits now, and according to the lawsuit, that dealership plans to relocate.
Daniel Settana Jr., a Columbia attorney representing Harrelson, said the case has been removed to federal court.
An attorney for the defendant could not be reached.
Harrelson wants to move its Nissan dealership to the Toyota site because it's easily accessible from Interstate 77, close to retail shopping and another dealership and the mixed-use development being built in the area.
"It's going to avoid an eyesore on a gateway into Rock Hill," he said of the Riverview Road site. "People are going to be able to get to a Nissan dealership more easily."
That's also a much more cost-effective move, the suit claims, because Harrelson already owns that land. Harrelson's proposal to move includes building an entirely new facility on the Toyota property.
Nissan of North America, however, rejected the request to move, citing a 2007 market study and suggested Harreleson move to a third location - near the Rock Hill Galleria off Dave Lyle Boulevard.
"Harrelson's cost to acquire the additional land is prima facie evidence that Nissan's required move is not supported by the existing market and economic conditions," the lawsuit reads. "In fact, Nissan is pushing for a third location, further underscoring the unreasonableness of its demand that Harrelson relocate to the Riverchase Property."
Through the lawsuit, Harrelson questions the validity of the study and the reason Nissan would deny the request to move to the Toyota property it already owns, yet still demand Harrelson move to the nearby Riverchase property, which both sides agree is less favorable a location.
Harrelson seeks an order allowing it to move the Nissan franchise where it wishes, compensatory damages and legal fees. They've asked for the case to be heard by a jury.