The owner-operator of Star Auto Mall could be opening a new location in Stewartsville, N.J., once an existing dealership moves out.
Bloomsbury Squire LLC, a Lehigh Valley-based used car dealer with multiple regional locations trading under various names, bought the Stewartsville site from Vinart Dealerships that now is home to Vinart’s Phillipsburg Easton Hyundai dealership for $3.5 million, said Kuldeep Kumar, one of the owner-operators of Bloomsbury Squire.
Meanwhile, Vinart Dealerships of Emmaus is looking to start construction on its Phillipsburg Easton Hyundai dealership in Lower Nazareth Township near Route 33. Once that opens, Vinart’s Phillipsburg Easton Hyundai dealership will move from its Stewartsville site.
The Stewartsville property could become a Star Auto Mall, Kumar said. The owners of the Stewartsville property already have an existing Star Auto Mall dealership in Bethlehem, he said.
Kumar estimated it could be a 12- to 24-month period before the new dealership is finished in Lower Nazareth. The Stewartsville site will stay open until that time.
“Once that facility is ready, they will move out,” Kumar said. “We will try to get a new franchise or our own because getting new franchises is not easy.”
The auto dealership in Stewartsville, a small town in Greenwich Township, Warren County, is the lone dealership in that area of Route 173. If Star doesn’t operate there, it could be a new-car dealership under a different operator.
“It’s a good-size location. If it’s a new-car dealership, it has the potential to be a good operation there,” Kumar said.
The Phillipsburg Easton Hyundai transaction was a sale and leaseback, facilitating the relocation of the Hyundai dealership and up to two years for the construction of the new facility at Hecktown Road and Route 33, said Steve Cihylik, a real estate agent for Hanna Frederick Commercial in South Whitehall Township.
Vinart wanted to secure a buyer in the short term while building its new dealership, he said. The buyer wanted to acquire the Philipsburg Hyundai real estate to protect that asset from another potential buyer. Both goals were met by Vinart selling the property and simultaneously leasing it for two years, allowing it to operate Hyundai while building its new store.
Bloomsbury Squire LLC, meanwhile, controls and owns the real estate, has cash flow and no costs of ownership for two years, then potentially opens its used car business, Cihylik said.
Cihylik represented the seller in the deal.
Joe Paranee of Realty Partners, Phillipsburg, N.J.. and Preety Minhas of the Keller Williams Real Estate Bethlehem office represented the buyer.
Andy Wright, vice president of Vinart Dealerships, said the company has not picked a contractor for its new dealership. It hopes to break ground as soon as possible after the ground has adequately thawed from the winter, possibly mid-to-late March. Construction should take 10 to 12 months, Wright said.
Vinart Dealerships includes Lehigh Valley Acura, Lehigh Valley Honda and Lehigh Valley Hyundai, in addition to the Stewartsville dealership.
Wright plans to build a 25,000-square-foot dealership on a vacant 10-acre site in Lower Nazareth. Aside from new and used car sales, the dealership would include 16 service bays and a full-service car wash.