BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — When Redline Renovations announced it was moving its Fairfield Avenue vintage car showroom and shop down the street to a cavernous, bricked-up warehouse, some clients scoffed in disbelief.
“They say, ‘why Bridgeport?’ We’re doing million-dollar cars here from all over the world,” said P.J. Pitcher, who handles public relations. “But we like being part of the fabric of Black Rock. We want to do everything we can to make this an automotive destination.”
To that end, the firm has spent the past seven months cleaning up the former ABC siding and roofing warehouse, filling dozens of dumpsters and removing the raccoons who had made the building their home in the six years it stood vacant.
“The building has character, charisma you can’t replicate with a new building just like you can’t replicate with a new car,” said Redline owner Colton Amster.
The 60,000-square-foot space will feature a 12,000-square-foot showroom, where gleaming restored vehicles will be visible from the street through a bank of new windows. The site will include a client lounge and a large storage space for those looking for a safe, secure place to store their cars.
The added space means Redline will now provide soup-to-nuts service, adding on-site upholstery service they didn’t have room for at the old location, Pitcher said.
The new site will feature a private collection area and a lower level with six separate mechanic’s bays for all restoration work.
Since the messier, noisier part of the business will be downstairs, the company will be available for private events upstairs. The owners see it as a natural destination for Connecticut’s strong community of luxury car enthusiasts or nonprofits looking for a fun site for a benefit.
“We’ve already booked a wedding rehearsal,” Pitcher said.
The Amsters have a deep respect for Bridgeport’s industrial past and took pains to preserve the brick work of the building’s walls, which date back to the 1930s, when the building was built to house -- of all things -- a Ford dealership.
The banks of windows in the car storage area were taken from city buildings slated for demolition.
On Friday, Pitcher gave an impromptu tour of the new facility for state Rep. Steve Stafstrom and City Council member Scott Burns. Both said they were pleased to hear the firm is staying in the city.
“We need to tell these stories in Bridgeport,” Stafstrom said.
To learn more about Redline and its ongoing facility restoration, visit the Facebook page.
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