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Rob Ryser | Nov. 30, 2021
An industrial stretch near Danbury Airport is taking off as a ‘mecca for high-end autos’
DANBURY - An industrial stretch that hugs the southern perimeter of Danbury Airport is becoming a niche for the high-end automotive market on the city’s booming west side.
From a 50,000-square-foot storage and restoration center for luxury cars expected to be the largest in Fairfield County when it opens in the spring, to a film director’s company that recently began producing $400,000 sports cars in the shadows of Runway 26, the conversion of Miry Brook and Sugar Hollow roads into a high-end auto corridor is seen by leaders as the kind of economic development Danbury welcomes.
“Call it expanding or exploding or whatever adjective you want to use, but there’s tremendous interest in commercial development on the west side,” said Paul Rotello, the City Council’s Democratic Majority Leader. “It’s great for business.”
The latest evidence of the emerging high-end auto niche on the eastern and southern borders of Danbury Airport came in the summer, when a high-end auto dealer won zoning approvals to build a Mercedes-Benz dealership at the corner of Miry Brook and Sugar Hollow roads. The corridor is already home to Porsche and Audi dealerships, as well as high-end auto garages and storage facilities such as Speedsport Tuning and Collector Car Services.
“That end of Danbury has more high-end cars stored than you can imagine,” said Neil Marcus, a land use attorney who has represented developers in the corridor. “It has become a mecca for high end autos - for automotive storage and assembly and sales and restoration.”
Meanwhile, other automotive dealers are kicking the corridor’s tires. At least one dealer is drawing up blueprints for the former Sports Authority building on Sugar Hollow Road, said Roger Palanzo, Danbury’s economic development director, during a meeting earlier this month.
It remains to be seen whether the dealer with plans for the corner of Miry Brook and Sugar Hollow roads will win approvals from Danbury’s Environmental Impact Commission and Planning Commission, along with approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
As of Monday, Curry had not submitted blueprints to the city’s Planning Department.
Curry Automotive plans to “redevelop a highly visible site to a high standard with new Mercedes-Benz sales and service center,” according to the dealer’s attorney, Meaghan Miles.
Part of the proposal that would certainly make the dealership visible calls for 87 spots for “rooftop inventory parking and a second-floor vehicle display.”
The idea, according to Curry Automotive, is to conserve the amount of environmentally sensitive land near the Kissen Brook that needs to be paved for parking by using the roof surface. The applicant’s attorney Miles called it “a creative solution to parking and storage.”
Plans call for clearing the concrete building, the storage container, and the trailers on the 2.5-acre site, which is used to park construction equipment and stockpile soil and gravel.
Rotello said he was impressed up to a point.
“They were all excited about cleaning up a corner that’s a gateway to Danbury but then they showed us the renderings with the parking on the roof,” Rotello said. “Cars on the roof. I guess this is how we roll in Danbury now.”