Heights-area dealership undergoes most expensive Ford renovation in U.S.

Local auto dealer Tommie Vaughn Ford is investing more than $12 million into its Heights-neighborhood dealership — currently the largest such project in the country for a Ford Motor Co. dealer.

The Heights location, which opened in 1957, is being renovated at a time when much of the surrounding neighborhood is undergoing its own revitalization, the company said.

Construction on the project at 1201 N. Shepherd began earlier this year, and phase one of the project is expected to be complete in early 2014.

The lead architecture firm on the project is Houston-based Goree Architects Inc., and the general contractor is Houston-based Wier Enterprises.

One element at the historic dealership that will not change is the iconic oil derrick sign that hangs outside.