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  • Artists drawing of planned Niello Mini dealership on Auburn Boulevard.

Niello to open new Mini dealership on Auburn Blvd.; BMW will stay on Fulton

Published: Thursday, May. 2, 2013 - 12:00 am

Upon further review, the Sacramento-based Niello Co. has opted to build a new Mini auto dealership on Auburn Boulevard.

The 33,000-square-foot store featuring the sporty, Euro-styled passenger cars is scheduled to open near the end of December at 3210 Auburn Blvd.

That's a change of plan from last year.

In 2012, Niello said it planned to build a 40,000-square-foot BMW store at 3216 Auburn Blvd., on a 3.8-acre parcel of land purchased from retired auto dealer Randy Graham.

Last year's announced plan involved ultimately moving BMW operations out of 2020 Fulton Ave. and converting that site into a Mini dealership, with assorted upgrades.

Rick Niello, president of the company that operates a dozen mostly high-end dealerships throughout Northern California, said the plan changed over time and amid in-house discussions.

"At first," Niello said Wednesday, "we strongly felt that putting BMW on Auburn was a good idea, with great visibility (along Capital City Freeway). "But we eventually thought that moving BMW would be more difficult for our clientele who've gotten used to BMW being where it is on Fulton.

"That's when we decided on Mini on Auburn."

So, for now, Niello will continue to operate the neighboring BMW and Mini dealerships at 2020 Fulton Ave. After Mini operations are moved to Auburn Boulevard at the end of the year, BMW will be the sole dealership at 2020 Fulton Ave.

And that BMW store might get its own upgrade. Niello said he's considering converting the vacated Mini facilities to feature BMW's line of electric and hybrid vehicles.

"BMW has some incredible (alternative-powered) cars, so I'm thinking that's one thing we might do."

Niello has long noted that the Mini store on Fulton is not big enough to handle the amount of business associated with the popular Mini brand. And he's quick to point out that his company oversees the only Mini dealership in the Sacramento region.

He also likes the Auburn Boulevard setting: "Auburn Boulevard is morphing into a really nice automotive row, right along the freeway and very attractive. And really, part of the Fulton Avenue DNA is there too."

Niello also operates Niello Audi at 2350 Auburn Blvd.

Niello shares space along the Auburn corridor with a grouping of recently built and upgraded dealerships overseen by the Sacramento-based Maita Automotive Group.

In 2009, the group opened a new Maita Nissan store at 2820 Auburn Blvd. In 2011, Maita added the Mazda brand and opened a 90,000-square-foot Toyota/Scion store at 2500 Auburn Blvd. In 2012, Maita opened its new Subaru dealership at 2400 Auburn Blvd. in Sacramento and acquired Carmichael Honda at 6151 Auburn Blvd. in Citrus Heights.

On the north side of Capital City Freeway, where it intersects Fulton Avenue, the recently built Mel Rapton Honda and Sacramento Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram stores bump up against the Haggin Oaks golf complex.

Niello also oversees three high-end dealerships on Fulton Avenue, selling Jaguar, Maserati and Land Rover vehicles.

Call The Bee's Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Mark Glover



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