Milford car dealer faces delays from glass shortage, cell tower build

The proposed Genesis of Milford car dealership is to feature a 69-foot showroom carousel with clear windows and architectural metal panels.

The proposed Genesis of Milford car dealership is to feature a 69-foot showroom carousel with clear windows and architectural metal panels.

Claris Design Build /Contributed

MILFORD — Though it is already operating in Milford, Genesis of Milford won’t have its own showroom until late next year due to a variety of factors.

Genesis is the luxury car division of South Korean automaker Hyundai. The cars are currently being sold in space shared with Key Hyundai of Milford. The new showroom, located at the former Post Road site of the Howard Johnson restaurant and hotel, is slated to open in October 2023.

“We would like to be faster than that, but some things have held us up,” said Chuck Dortenzio, director of operations for the Key Automotive Group. “There’s a new cell antenna, behind Mexico Tipico Mexican restaurant, which is going to handle the antennas that are on this building, but the move to that tower got delayed.”

Dortenzio said the company can’t tear down the existing structure or begin excavating until the cellular antennas on the building are moved.

Key received approval to open the new showroom in April. Plans call for a 24,600-square-foot showroom and repair facility with 286 parking spaces. The building is going to have a 69-foot carousel roof with metal and glass panels.

But it is glass that is also responsible for some of the delays, according to Dortenzio.

“From our initial estimates to our bid estimates, the cost of glass has gone up 40 percent,” he said. “This building is going to have over $1 million of glass in it because the entire front of it is glass and is 20 feet high.”

The rising cost of glass has driven the projects estimated cost up from $9 million to about $15 million, he said.

But expensive as it is, glass is necessary for the project because until the glass front is installed, the building can’t be enclosed and workers can’t begin to build out the interior, he said.

“That’s why the sooner we can bring this building down, the faster we can get other things moving,” he said.

When it does open, Dortenzio said, Genesis of Milford will be the only freestanding Genesis car dealership in Connecticut.

“We are the first Genesis dealership in Connecticut and currently the only one building a separate facility,” he said. “We plan to build it in a place where it’s going to attract people from everywhere because there aren't going to be any other dealers. So people are going to come from all over Connecticut and even possibly New York to come here to buy a Genesis.”

As only the fifth Genesis dealer in the country, Dortenzio said the showroom would also have a trickle-down effect on the local economy.

“There’s no way that people are coming out of town and not stopping at the shopping center or grabbing a bite at a restaurant,” he said.