Car Dealer Vacancies Drive Cities to Find New Streams of Revenue
Putting space to good use is ideally a key focus for city officials, so many officials are looking to vacant auto lots to develop new properties for housing, office space and retail outlets. The LA Times reports that “There are roughly 9.1 million square feet of empty buildings sitting on more than 1,000 acres of prime commercial real estate.” While auto dealerships have traditionally supplied cities with plenty of tax dollars for the land they occupy, the change in the financial fortunes of many auto companies has led to an increase in vacant lots that present a void in revenue streams. For instance, General Motors and Chrysler have been hit hard by the recession and their closed dealerships have forced cities to find ways to replace them with new franchises. While many vacant lots may have expensive clean-up costs due to underground storage tanks and lubricant seepage, there are numerous vacancies that could make ideal locations for medical, industrial or retail businesses. An example of the amount of vacant space is apparent in a city like San Bernardino, which lost seven of its twelve dealerships. More cities may face such vacancies if they continue to compete with one another for new car sales.