Design specifications for a new combined Jiffy Lube automotive maintenance center and Suds Express car wash in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, were clear and concise from the project’s inception.
“From our very first meeting, I was charged to design for the future,” recalls Neil Cotton, who served as designer and construction manager for Waterloo, Ontario-based M.C.G.W. Properties Group, which owns and operates 18 innovative car maintenance locations in southwest Ontario. “This building has done its job. We’ve built a destination. We see our air fresheners on cars being driven on ‘The 401’ (highway) all the way to Toronto. ” (With a 2007 population of 124,000, Cambridge is an approximate 1 hour drive from Toronto.)
Cambridge was the first city in which M.C.G.W. Properties opened a Jiffy Lube business in 1977. When the company abandoned its original location there two years ago, it went from 20,000 square feet of land to a 3-acre site off busy Hespeler Road, a six-lane thoroughfare that traffics approximately 50,000 cars each day, according to Peter Walsh, president, M.C.G.W. Properties Group.
The company previously had completed a stucco retrofit of its Jiffy Lube location in Hamilton, Ontario, to include a Suds Express, successfully expanding its business there. So, the new Cambridge location presented the perfect opportunity to combine these automotive maintenance services in an innovatively designed building that would stand out on the busy six-lane road.
“We wanted a very modern look for the front of the building,” said Walsh. “We got a big, high front that’s wrapped in aluminum.”
The building features 8,390 square feet of Alucobond® Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) by Alcan Composites USA in the 4mm thickness. Alucobond is an aluminum composite material that consists of two sheets of .02” aluminum thermobonded to a plastic core. Alucobond provides extraordinary flatness and rigidity, excellent formability, low weight and outstanding weather resistance.
“No other building on the street was clad in Alucobond,” said Cotton. “It’s maintenance-free and the colors are so predominate.”
The $3.5-million 25,000-square-foot building features a Jiffy Lube auto maintenance area in front and adjacent interior cleaning area with moving floor, as well as a basement storage area. A large Suds Express carwash tunnel is positioned in the back of the building.
Employees of Sobotec, Ltd., headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario, fabricated and installed 5,000 square feet of Alucobond ACM in the Sunrise Silver Metallic color, as well as 2,140 square feet in a bright red and 1,250 square feet in a custom blue – the latter two of which are Sobotec inventory colors – in an intricate design comprised of 505 Alucobond pieces. The Alucobond panels were installed with Sobotec’s proprietary SL 2000 Dry Rain Screen System – a pioneer in clean rain screen systems that require no sealant or caulking.
“This is a very efficient and competitive system,” according to Vlad Sobot, president, Sobotec, who said he was impressed with M.C.G.W. Properties’ selection of Alucobond ACM for the combined Jiffy Lube/Suds Express center.
“It’s unusual to find a car wash that utilizes a high-quality product like Alucobond,” said Sobot. “They usually incorporate block stone or another inexpensive material.… We’ve worked on a lot of car washes for the gas station industry. They’re usually attached to the gas station or canopy. This is a very unique application.”
Designer Cotton was inspired by the look of luxury car dealerships in his choice of Alucobond cladding for the Jiffy Lube/Suds Express. And, just as these car dealerships often feature standalone corporate identity signs, Cotton designed a standalone pylon from Alucobond to identify the business on the busy thoroughfare.
“This was to be a signature store,” said Cotton. “It had to stand out. The streetscape was very important. I had never used Alucobond before but had seen several buildings designed with it. The end result is a beautiful building – something that we can be proud of. I would most definitely use Alucobond again.”
“This building looks terrific,” said Walsh. “It sets us apart. We do a lot of business off the street. If the building looks good, it will bring in customers.”
Unique design elements in the Jiffy Lube/Suds Express include evening-lit Alucobond-clad towers on each end of the combined business that extend above the roof line. Four red towers designate the Jiffy Lube business, and four blue towers represent the Suds Express business. The Cambridge combined business also is the first to feature an Alucobond-clad canopy positioned above the Jiffy Lube front entryway.
M.C.G.W. Properties Group opened the new Cambridge location in February 2006.
“Both the Suds Express car wash and Jiffy Lube sides of the business have been a success,” said Walsh. “This building will look solid for years to come. The first one (combined business) that we did was in stucco. It’s starting to look dirty. We just get the Alucobond washed every spring, and no one has banged into it.... With 30 years in business, when it comes to construction, you’re far better off putting in money up front. The Alucobond really updates the appearance of this building. It looks state-of-the-art.”