New Prestige home is now its castle

Sole distributor for South Korean Hyundai vehicles

People who glance sideways as they pass a blue building on Airport Road may be surprised to spot a car perched on the roof.

On closer inspection, it becomes clear that the rooftop is a car park for Prestige Motors, the sole distributor of South Korean Hyundai vehicles in Cayman.

Prestige Motors moved into the building, called Breezy Castle, in May from its former home in Eastern Avenue.

Construction on the site started in July 2007 and was finished in January this year. Built to withstand hurricanes and earthquakes, the building can accommodate 300 cars on the roof.

The rooftop car park was partly in reaction to the fact that the entire stock of Prestige Motors, founded 25 years ago, was lost in Hurricane Ivan when all its vehicles ended up under six feet of water.

‘The parts were insured, but not the cars,’ recalls Danny O’Hara, co-owner of Prestige Motors which moved to its new premises from the firm’s former, smaller home in Eastern Avenue in January this year.

In the September 2004 storm, Prestige lost 135 cars – 40 new vehicles and 95 rentals.

It has always been a bit of a family affair at Prestige, and the relocation to the new building was no exception. Daughter Cindy, an architect, designed the building. Their other daughter Julie, a lawyer, looks after the legal affairs of the firm, Mr. O’Hara, a proud parent, explained.

Mr. O’Hara’s wife Peggy runs the service department and her brother Stephen Southerland is in charge of the parts department.

The new building has five service bays, a big stockroom for large parts and another room for the small parts which are found in other nooks and crannies in the building, including inside custom-built drawers in the reception area.

Inside the showroom, the big sellers at the moment, the Tucson SUV and the i10, which is proving very popular as a rental car, are on display, among a number of others.

Back in 1984, when the company first formed, Prestige Motors was based at Larry’s Tires on Crew Road. Larry Hunter is a partner in Prestige.

The first 10 cars the company imported for sale were displayed across the road from Larry’s Tires in the Motor and General parking lot. A year later, realising the company needed a permanent home, it moved to the building in Eastern Avenue, sharing the premises with Larry’s Hardware.

Now, at the company’s biggest and best premises in its 25-year history, Mr. O’Hara said Breezy Castle will be Prestige’s home for many years to come.

The rooftop car park was partly in reaction to the fact that the entire stock of Prestige Motors, founded 25 years ago, was lost in Hurricane Ivan when all its vehicles ended up under six feet of water.

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