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Manhattan Auto Group facility under renovation.

The Manhattan Auto Group located at 787 11th Ave. between 54th and 55th Streets, is undertaking a major redesign and renovation of its 340,000-SF facility. The building accommodates, under one roof, Manhattan's only authorized dealerships for Jaguar, Land Rover, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, and Mazda. The redesigned building will provide customers with a welcoming experience into an environment generally associated with the more traditional retailing of high-end consumer products.

"We have redesigned our facility to enable us to offer our customers a uniquely individual experience. In a complete transformation of our business, we are addressing four strategic mutually interdependent components. Namely the facility, the processes, the e-commerce and high technology. In this process of transforming our business we are not simply creating an updated auto showroom and service facility, but rather a complete lifestyle, entertainment and shopping experience for the Manhattan automotive consumers," said Gary B. Flom president and CEO of the Manhattan Auto Group.

The first step in the process is the facility redesign which will blend the wonderful structure originally designed by famed industrial architect Albert Kahn in 1928, with architecturally striking glass, steel and granite design elements to accommodate today's sophisticated urban automotive clientele. An international design team has been assembled to develop the management's vision into reality. The building will incorporate European styling in the design of salon showrooms for each brand with the innovation of American brand marketing.

The design team reflects the international composition of the automotive brands at the site. From England, SDA Architects Limited brings their extensive experience working with Jaguar and Ford of Europe. A team from the United States that includes, Cityscape Architects, Inc. of Farmington, Michigan and FordLand of Dearborn, Michigan both bring the perspective of award winning contemporary design to the American car brands at the facility. The automobile industry has been undergoing a globalization of brands and the design for the Manhattan Auto Group facility clearly reflects that globalization applied to architecture as well.

The new Manhattan Auto Group facility features a 30-foot high atrium and circular balustrade, brand exclusive "lifestyle theme salons" only rivaled in their splendor by the city's art galleries, and a designer cafe, the center has the look and feel of a high concept car show. All of the new architectural flourishes in the auto and service center heighten the aesthetic beauty, brand, and functionality of the luxury and sport utility cars, while also making the facility accessible, intimate, and exciting. Each customer will have a uniquely individual experience at Manhattan Auto Group, and through a strategically integrated urban design, the facility will create the perfect response to the demands of the discerning New York consumers.

"The New York consumer has unique needs and expectations and we are meeting those needs and expectations by fully integrating all functions and conveniences within our building," said Flom. We are creating a seamless flow of activity, from the innovative showroom experience of presenting and demonstrating a car in a lifestyle setting, to making the service experience both comfortable and efficient. In addition to the cafe designed into the renovated facility the showroom salon includes, among other amenities, a fully functional rock-climbing wall in the Ford Outfitters Center and an off-road door test track for prospective Land Rover buyers. Each brand will feature its own identity in the new facility, and automobile buyers will for the first time find excitement and elegance in their visit to an automobile showroom."

Currently, the vast majority of the customers who visit the Manhattan Auto Group facility are Manhattan residents. The new facility in combination with the redefined purchasing and customer service processes will become the new destination for the Manhattanites. The consumer purchasing process will be redefined into a new destination experience for Manhattan residents. The building is being designed to be functionally superior to any automobile showroom and service facility in Manhattan today, and to make the purchasing of a car more than simply a decision over what model to buy and what price to settle on.

"Creating this lifestyle automobile buying experience in Manhattan with the space constraints that automotive retailers face, is a challenge being met by our exceptional international design team. The needs of the New York consumer will be addressed in every aspect of this groundbreaking facility redesign," said Flom.

Acclaimed architect Albert Kahn designed the original building in 1928 for the Packard Motor Car Company. Traces of his original cobblestone test drive track still remain on the roof. Called the father of industrial architecture, Kahn is also remembered for Detroit's Fisher Building and other landmark skyscrapers built during the heyday of the auto industry.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 17, 2001
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