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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Mar. 6, 201901:58 PM EST

Brickell Motors buys land for Bentley dealership, also plans to sell Maserati and Alfa Romeo

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The dealership is along Bonneval Road near Butler Boulevard, Interstate 95.

Jacksonville’s new Bentley dealership is rolling closer to development, and its owner submitted plans that show he intends to broaden its reach to include other luxury brands.

Brickell Motors bought the Southside property Tuesday, according to NAI Hallmark, and applied to the city to build its announced Bentley dealership. Site clearing already is approved.

Plans and renderings now include Maserati and Alfa Romeo.

Mario Murgado, president and CEO of Miami-based Brickell Motors and Miami Automotive Retail Inc., said Bentley will operate on one side of the dealership and Maserati and Alfa Romeo on the other.

Brickell Motors is planning a dealership that will sell Bentley, Maserati and Alfa Romeo luxury vehicles.

Bentley is a luxury British car while Maserati and Alfa Romeo are Italian brands that are owned by FCA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Executives of the British automaker announced in June that they intend to open a Bentley dealership in 2019 along Bonneval Road to sell the “hyperluxury” brand.

Bentley prices start near $200,000. Car and Driver reports the flagship Continental GT starts at $220,000 and the Bentayga starts at $197,725. The Mulsanne Speed starts at $338,325.

For 2019 models, prices start about $80,000 for Maserati and under $40,000 for Alfa Romeo.

Hanania Automotive Group already owns and operates Maserati of Jacksonville and Alfa Romeo of Orange Park, both at 8105 Blanding Blvd. in Southwest Jacksonville.

Murgado said in a recent interview that there is space for the brands on both sides of town.

“Maybe now they will have greater exposure by having a store on the east side and one on the west side,” Murgado said. “I feel very confident with what I can do with those two brands.”

Berj Alexanian, a public relations manager with FCA Group, said Thursday the Florida market “has been a phenomenal one” for Maserati and Alfa Romeo.

“We look forward to expansion in the state and those plans may well include Jacksonville, where we have seen a lot of interest” in the brands.

Florida “is where we see growth and opportunity,” he said.

Asked if Jacksonville will have two Maserati Alfa Romeo dealerships, Alexanian replied: “We're looking into it.”

Brickell Motors is planning a dealership that will sell Bentley, Maserati and Alfa Romeo luxury vehicles.

NAI Hallmark announced that Carmen Mantay, vice president of brokerage, represented the property seller, Atlantis Holdings LLLP. It sold 7.5 acres to Brickell Motors for $2.65 million.

“This deal is a tremendous achievement to our city and our community,” Mantay said in a news release. “The addition of this prestigious brand represents the ascension of the city of Jacksonville as a luxury market.”

Murgado said he believes Jacksonville “has tremendous potential to grow much more than today. You have the markings of greatness.”

Several factors are at play, he said: Population moves from the Northeast; no state personal income tax; activity from the port; tourism; and the U.S. Navy presence.

“There is nothing but upside from what I see,” he said. “I’m betting big on Jacksonville.”

AutoBuilders General Contracting Services of West Palm Beach is listed as the contractor for the almost $11 million project cost. YSM Design of Atlanta is the architect, while England-Thims & Miller Inc. is the civil engineer.

The city is reviewing a permit application for a 42,000-square-foot dealership on almost 7 acres of a 9-acre site along Bonneval Road off Interstate 95 and Butler Boulevard.

Plans for the Bentley dealership show a two-story building that also includes 50,063 square feet of unenclosed space.

The property owner is listed as MAR Jax Ben LLC, part of Miami Automotive Retail. Murgado said he wants to start construction within weeks.

He said he expects to complete it by year-end.

On Oct. 31, the St. Johns River Water Management District issued a permit to property owner Atlantis Holdings LLLP of St. Augustine and Miami Automotive Retail Inc. of Miami for site grading, pavement, curbs and a stormwater management pond on 7.5 acres at 7137 Bonneval Road.

On Jan. 15, the city issued a permit for mass grading of 6.08 acres at the address.

The 9-acre site includes lots for more development, such as a hotel, restaurant and retail uses. City Council enacted an ordinance Nov. 13 to rezone the property from planned unit development to another PUD to allow the proposed uses.

That rezoning applies to property owned by Atlantis Holdings LLLP of St. Augustine and Galleria Pointe Owners Association Inc. The written description said Brickell Motors was negotiating with the Galleria Pointe association to acquire the adjoining parcel.

The dealership is along Bonneval Road near Butler Boulevard, Interstate 95.

It will be the first area Bentley dealership and the seventh in Florida.

Murgado said in June he will operate Bentley Jacksonville, his ninth U.S. dealership. At the time, he said it would be a 25,000-square-foot facility that initially will support 25-35 jobs.

With the additional dealerships, the size and employment would increase.

“I’ve looked at this market for a long time,” Murgado said at the June 18 news conference, joined by Bentley President and CEO Mark Del Rosso, Mayor Lenny Curry and council member Danny Becton, whose district includes the dealership.

The Bentley store in Jacksonville is the first for Murgado, who operates Audi, Buick, GMC, Honda, Mazda, Infiniti, Cadillac and Volkswagen dealerships in Florida and Chicago.

“There are 38 dealerships in the U.S. and 50 states, so think about what that says about Jacksonville,” Murgado said.

Becton said Thursday that the 2017 opening of the Netherlands-based IKEA furniture store at I-295 and Gate Parkway helped to establish Jacksonville “as an international player” and that the Bentley dealership supports that reputation.

“This just adds to that perception of what Jacksonville is and is going to become,” said Becton, who represents District 11.

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