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November 11, 2013 Deal Watch

New Country Mini eagerly awaits keys to Hartford showroom

HBJ Photo | Gregory Seay New Country Mini Cooper is finally about to get its own dedicated showroom-service center in Hartford's North Meadows.
Photo | Contributed Ex-Subaru showroom to house used cars.

In the 11 years since the Mini Cooper resumed U.S. sales, the iconic subcompact 's Hartford sales, service and support operations have shared showroom space and some staff with its bigger sports-luxury sibling, BMW.

But that's about to change. Soon after the first of the year, New Country Mini Cooper will occupy its own stand-alone sales and service facility off Rev. Moody Drive in the city's North Meadows, New Country officials say.

The showroom pricetag is around $3 million, New Country Mini Cooper Operations Manager Todd Meriwether said.

“Completely separated … It's going to be all about the Mini,'' Meriwether said.

The new 14,000-square-foot Mini showroom on 1.6 acres is next door to its Mercedes-Benz sibling, New Country Motor Cars, at 1 Weston St. The Mini site has parking for 121 vehicles.

The new facility's footprint is about the same as the one currently housing New Country BMW/Mini, Meriwether said.

New Country Mini's dealership building is modeled on a turnkey showroom package from Mini USA, BMW's compact-car division, that can be tweaked and built to local land and zoning specifications, he said.

Construction of the new building began in early summer, Meriwether said. When completed, the state-of-the-art showroom will have the usual sales and administrative offices, and service desk with repair stalls.

Along with that, will be some novel interior and exterior touches to showcase the Mini brand, like a new Mini under spotlights and perched on the roof, the operations manager said. Inside, an original Mini will be mounted on a shelf.

New Country Mini, too, is adding to its staff of a dozen to accommodate its new space, Meriwether said. At least six more employees will be hired, including salespeople, technicians, detailers and administrative support.

• • •

$22M S. Windsor senior care

LCB Senior Living LLC has begun building The Residence at South Windsor Farms, a $22 million, 80-apartment independent/assisted-living facility for seniors in South Windsor.

The complex at 200 Deming St. is set to open in fall 2014, LCB Chief Executive Officer Michael A. Stoller said.

Residents will include those with early stage Alzheimer's disease and other memory impairments.

Insurer Prudential put an undisclosed sum of equity into the project. M&T Bank was the lender.

In a few months, LCB will break ground on a similar size and scope project, The Residence at Brookside in Avon.

The Architectural Team, of Chelsea, Mass., is designer. The Congress Companies, of Peabody, Mass., is general contractor.

When opened, The Residence in South Windsor will have more than 70 full- and part-time employees for an approximately $1.8 million annual payroll, LCB spokesman Ted Doyle said. The facility also will pump some $1.2 million annually into the local economy.

Based in Norwood, Mass., LCB's other facilities are in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

• • •

Middletown car-showroom lease

The former Schaller Subaru dealership at 1138 Newfield St. in Middletown has been leased for a used-car showroom.

Umut Yucel leased the 9,904-square-foot facility from owner European Motorcars.

O,R&L Commercial represented the owner. Goman & York represented the tenant.

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Greg Seay is the Hartford Business Journal News Editor.

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