For Ducati, the third time was the charm for opening a luxury motorcycle dealership in Birmingham.
On Monday night, the Birmingham City Commission approved a request from Ducati to open a motorcycle dealership at 33828 Woodward Ave., or the southern half of the building currently occupied by Auto Europe.
This is the third time Ducati has come before the city, the first being in August 2012 when Daniel Cable, a Rochester Hills business owner, received permission to open a dealership at 394 S. Old Woodward.
After that deal fell through, a second group — this time led by Charlie Knoll — requested to open a Ducati dealership at 670 S. Old Woodward, the site of the soon-to-be-closed Azar's Oriental Rugs. Citing a lack of details, city commissioners voted down that proposal in November.
On Monday, Knoll came before the Birmingham City Commission with a third location in mind, the southern half of Auto Europe's building on Woodward, which is now sitting unused.
This time, the plan passed unanimously 6-0, with only City Commissioner Scott Moore absent.
Ducati must come before the City Commission for approval because selling motorcycles is a regulated use in Birmingham, and subject to discussion and a public hearing.
"When we first heart about this, I thought what a great fit our city," said City Commissioner Tom McDaniel. "I think it's a wonderful addition to our city."
Birmingham's Ducati dealership will the third in Michigan, the other two located in Clinton Township and Kalamazoo. Birmingham will be the only Michigan dealership to exclusively sell Ducati motorcycles.
Based in Italy, Ducati sells six different classes of handmade motorcycles, ranging in price from $9,000-$30,000. The dealership will also sell Ducati gear and be staffed by specialized Ducati repair technicians.
The dealership will be open seven days a week, with hours varying based on the season and other special events. Peak season hours will be: 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
On Monday night, city commissioners were most concerned with the amount of noise that would come from a dealership selling loud motorcycles. Birmingham ordinance requires that, as part of their daily operations, businesses not exceed a maximum of 80 decibels during the day and 60 decibels at night.
According to Knoll and a Ducati representative, street bikes can only be as loud as 83 decibels when they're running. A dynamometer, equipment used to test motorcycles, would be on site but Knoll assured commissioners they would be building a special, noise-controlled room for the machine to cut down on excess noise.
"Plus, the noise generated by that would be completely subdued by Woodward traffic," Knoll said. Planning Director Jana Ecker said traffic on Woodward nearly always exceeds 80 decibels.
In general, Knoll said he's willing to do whatever he can to please his new neighbors and please the city to make Ducati work for Birmingham.
"We want to be a success there, and aggrevating the residents would not be good for us," he said.
Upon opening their doors, Ducati will join a string of car dealerships along the east side of Woodward north of Lincoln, including Auto Europe, Fred Lavery's Porsche, Audi and Range Rover dealership, and the recently-opened Golling Fiat.