Kia dealership set to open on former Saturn site
By DREW WINCHESTER
The site of the former Saturn of Cape Coral dealership on Pine Island Road will have a new tenant before the end of the year.
Fuccillo Automotive Group plans to open a new Kia dealership in December, adding a Florida location to its family of 21 dealerships based in upstate New York.
Cape Coral will be their first Florida location, though owner William “Billy” Fuccillo has also owned dealerships in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and the Carolinas, among other places.
Fuccillo’s New York dealerships sell Ford, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Chrysler and affiliated brands.
Fuccillo said he felt the Kia brand will be well received in Cape Coral, and that Kia has been looking to open a dealership in the area for a while.
“It seems like a good fit,” Fuccillo said on the phone from Las Vegas. “The value of the brand fits Cape Coral very well, because it’s all about value … And we feel people will want to purchase from a dealer that’s going to be there for the long haul, and that’s also financially strong.”
Saturn shut its doors in 2009, leaving Roger Dean Chevrolet as the city’s only new car dealership.
According to the Lee County Property Appraiser’s website, the property is valued at $2,026,478, and lists GP Equities LLC of Fort Myers as the owner of record. The property lost roughly $600,000 of assessed value year over year, and currently has $69,541.57 in unpaid taxes.
Fuccillo said the new Kia dealership will eventually employ roughly 100 people, 98 percent of whom will be hired locally.
Fuccillo Automotive Group currently employs 1,485 people, according to Fuccillo, and is currently accepting applications for its Cape Coral location.
“We take care of our customers, but we take care of our employees, too,” Fuccillo added.
The Cape Coral Economic Development Office expects the dealership to be up and running by the end of the year.
Christy Vogt said the office is making an effort to market the city’s cheap commercial land value, and cites the new Kia dealership as an example of someone taking advantage of the opportunity.
“This is exactly what we’re trying to market. The economy is bad in some ways, but offers opportunities in some other ways,” Vogt said. “Businesses are taking advantage of the fact the prices for buildings have come down.”
Councilmember Kevin McGrail, in whose district the new Kia dealership will be located, said he hopes that construction and sales jobs will indeed go to Cape Coral residents.
While he recognizes that several businesses along Pine Island Road, including Uno’s Pizza and Ada’s Supermarket, have shut their doors in recent months, McGrail still feels that commercial corridor is strong and will be strong in the future.
He said the arrival of the dealership could very well help the corridor “grow into the next decade.”
“I think the encouraging news is that companies on solid financial footing are recognizing opportunities to do business in our city,” McGrail said. “It’s definitely encouraging to see a second new car dealership in the city. It’s a big plus.”
The city remains in an economic downturn with the county’s unemployment rate still hovering in upper 13th percentile.
In addition to adding jobs, Fuccillo said his dealerships do their best to impart themselves to the community.
“We’re very involved with all the communities and all the markets we’re in,” Fuccillo said. “In the Albany, New York, market our contributions recently totaled more than $200,000.”
Christy Vogt said Fuccillo and company has some “work to do” on the building, but everything was flowing smoothly and the city’s Economic Development Office expects them to open before 2011.
“They’re very excited to come here,” Vogt said.
To apply for a job at the Fuccillo Kia Dealership send resumes to 499 US Route 11, Adams, NY, 13605, attention Human Resources. Or call them at 315-232-3222.