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Used Car Mega-Malls?

CAPlanner1

Member
Messages
20
Points
2
What up fellow Planners!

I have just a quick question to ask of you all...

Has anyone ever heard of used-car lots being aggregated together in the way that new-car dealerships are to form "one-stop shop" "mega-malls?" No large corporate constructions - just smaller "ma and pop" dealerships congregated together under a single management, banners, etc.

I work for an architecture/urban design firm currently writing guidelines for a city with many such uses scattered along a dilapidated, and underutilized strip, and we believe such an idea just might work there to spark ultimate revitalization, or at the very least; aesthetic improvement.

Any related project or city names or even just solid leads would be very much appreciated - up until now I have found nothing.

Thank you in advance!
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
From your perspective of wanting to improve aesthetics, it might help. At the same time, is it practical? The mom and pop business owners you are targeting are just the kind to be most opposed to "single management, banners, etc." They want to differentiate themselves. They want to be the person responsible for the success or failure of their business. They want the customer to come to their lot, talk to their sales people, purchase their used cars, and forget about the competition. If you propose the idea they will ignore it. If you force the issue they will burn you in effigy.

There are ways to achieve what you want (improved aesthetics). Start with your regulations. If banners are a problem, remember, there are sign ordinances and enforcement. If appearance is a problem, you can invest in new streetscapes.If buildings, structures, or parking lots on the property are a problem, try working with the business through grants or other programs.
 

GeogPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,433
Points
25
albany has the central ave "supermile" which is a heavy concentration of dealerships but not under one management entity. it does have a neat look and a design vocabulary to it...for example neon is encouraged.

http://www.centralbid.com/
 

Cullen

Member
Messages
33
Points
2
Much respect GeogPlanner, I was going to point that out too. Albany is my 'hood as well.

One time I was catching a ride with these performers from MA and their car was having a problem. We went to at least 10 auto parts stores (I don't know really but this strip has a LOT of auto parts and dealerships) I had never before realized this stretch is such a car place, but it is generally known as that and people come from a large area because they know that if one store doesn't have what they are looking for, or if a repair shop's price quote is too high, then there will be others.

Make it accessible (even to transit, people need to be able to buy transportation and materials when they don't have it already), make it bright (but not gaudy), and mix up the uses with inexpensive restaurants (diners, fish fry, and burger joints etc.)

Albany is even home to the armory garage which, according to ripleys beleive it or not, has the largest indoor auto showroom. If you can get some superlatives (biggest,best, most, fastest,oldest) to increase your critical mass of attention, that's always helpful too. the cohesive district idea can work very well, perhaps you can come up with some things to tie these businesses together that they can all agree upon. Maybe you could have a festival sale one day where all lots agree to lower prices and have food and drink and have a festival along the street. There could be one advertisement. As long as you don't try to bind the businesses together, they ought to be in favor of defining their area as a district (ours is called the strip) and drawing increased regional attention.

Just some ideas
 

CAPlanner1

Member
Messages
20
Points
2
Thank you!

Thanks to all for your responses!

I visited the Albany website link, and while not exactly similar to what we had envisioned, information posted there was indeed helpful.

We anticipated a similar response from potential "tenants" of our proposed used-car mega-mall. However, the construction and deal the city plans to propose is almost (we feel) too compelling for a potential vendor to ignore.

The city will pay for uniform (and vastly improved) landscaping, infrastructure, any streetscape improvements and indeed aide in the construction of improved, more permanent offices for the various dealers to hous themselves in.
 

CAPlanner1

Member
Messages
20
Points
2
Thanks continued...

Sorry - cut myself off...

Essentially, the city will pay for and maintain just about everything - the dealers (to slightly modify my earlier statements) will even have complete continued autonomy over their daily business activities and practices - they just need to be located within the single shared auto "mall" and not scattered throughout the strip as currently.

For the city, the plan hopefully means greater public awareness (due to better/more effective signage, lighting and aesthetics), and increased traffic (pedestrian, auto, etc.) and subsequently, greater revenues from the area.

For the dealers, the benefits that stem from increased public awareness are obvious, and again all for a relatively tiny loss of design/practice individuality.

I thank you all again for your prompt responses - it appears that this may be something "untried" in the annals of planning/community development!
 
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