July 1, 2011 - By, Jason Sheftell
That big beautiful blue light streaming across 11th Ave. between 53rd and 54th Sts. is the latest design gem to open in the Big Apple. Much more than a car dealership, the new home for Mercedes-Benz Manhattan is a $220 million facility designed by the Spector Group, one of New York’s largest architectural firms.
The place is a sight to see. Five floors and 330,000 square feet (that’s almost 7.6 acres), it’s more museum than anything else. Glass elevators, escalators that exit into sexy curves, huge polished concrete columns, a helix that allows cars to enter and exit at different levels, and glass and a stainless steel stairwell emphasize a new industrialism that celebrate more than 125 years of automotive achievement for Mercedes-Benz, which invented the automobile. There are even mechanized product delivery systems near 71 squeaky-clean repair bays. They should give tours of the space. Architect Scott Spector is proud of what his firm and Mercedes have built.
“We didn’t want to hide the concrete or exposed metal,” says Spector of the LEED-Gold nominated facility. “Clean precision is what we were after. There aren’t a lot of nooks and crannies, as we really wanted this to be a wide-open space. We wanted to celebrate an exposed industrial aesthetic.”
Calling it a “customer experience laboratory,” Mercedes-Benz Manhattan averages more than 145 repairs a day and sells more than 3,000 new vehicles per year. This home, at the base of a rental building from Two Trees Development, should help them sell more. Check out the new spread at 770 11th Ave. Part of the Autohaus program, this facility is designed to deliver brand consistency to dealerships all over the world. A 1,000-person event kicked off the opening with a concert by Matchbox Twenty.