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nashvillwill

Broadway car dealerships. Alternatives.

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So, it seems like the general opinion about the auto lots on Broadway is that they should leave. Go away! Vanish! You don't fit in here!

I certainly agree that, in their current state, they are an eyesore and hamper development of the surrounding area. But i also think they could work well, if they will embrace a pretty radical change in form and function. Currently, the dealerships keep much of their inventory on site as well as their mechanics shops. I do know that, at least Toyota, keeps some inventory off site. I remember shopping for a car at the Toyota dealership a few years back. I discussed a certain model and they had in their showroom floor the top-trim level of that model. When i asked about a lower trim package, they said they had several off site. A salesman drove me over in a matter of minutes to see what they had. It was a pleasant experience.

So, what if these dealerships decide they want to stay while also maximizing their land value? I see two favorable options for them to do so.

Option 1;

Keep a showroom on broadway. Front the street and sell off additional land. Move inventory and service off site.

Option 2;

Mass redevelopment on site. Build garages to house inventory. Have services out of site. At these locations, so close to the freeway, a sizeable building could be a real draw.

A few examples of things i've seen that i think would be fitting. Granted, these are all from my local hood, San Francisco, but it gives the idea.

The first two are a little more urban and possibly not quite what we would realistically see in Nashville, but it's an idea of what's possible.

toyota2.jpg

ford.jpg

Granted, the last two are in what is most likely rehab buildings. We don't exactly have a stock of buildings like that in town.

This image below is perhaps something more likely for Broadway. It would be a nice consolodation of space with a little more of an urban feel. It also gets the showroom up and visible for all passersby (including those on the freeway). This one is near the Oakland airport, so it's more of an industrial area, but you can imagine a similar structure on Broadway (closer sidewalks and such).

toyota.jpg

Just some ideas. Wanted to know if anyone else has had similar thoughts.

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Wanted to know if anyone else has had similar thoughts.

I've had similar thoughts. There are already some showrooms built to the sidewalk in that area, as Midtown develops it will make sense for them to sell off pavement where they're just warehousing cars.

But a lot of other development will have to happen first--if you look on google maps, there is a vast amount of underdeveloped space all around there that has all just been rezoned for high density mixed use. In like, 10 years, those car lots are going to be crazy valuable and maybe the last prime spot for a large development in the area.

I bet they hold out a long time, but in several years it'll end with some big glassy showrooms on the sidewalk which will actually be quite nice for pedestrians to walk by, and apts/condos/offices on what's now asphalt.

Now that little wedge-shaped one at the Broadway-West End split is doomed, sooner rather than later, that is way too cool a spot, it needs a very tall, thin flatiron-style building with a big billboard on it where the big billboard currently is.

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I too think they need to either go or drastically redevelop what they have, but I don't think it will happen anytime soon. I like the look of that Toyota dealership in the 3rd photo. Would be great for the Beaman property. I think the only one I am okay with right now as is is the Hyundai/Subaru dealership. Built to the sidewalk, small inventory onsite. Very mod-industrial facade.

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Definately agree about the wedge location (except for the billboard part).

Also, there is an awesome building fronting Church St, which I think Beaman owns. They used to use it as an "alternate" showroom, or at least a "display" for cars on Church St. I haven't seen them use it in years. I wonder why. I always thought that building would be a great location for a grocery store or something similar.

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I don't mind the fact that we have downtown car dealerships, but I certainly agree that it would be good for them to consolidate and get rid of (at least most of) their surface lots. Some of the pics of the more compact/urban dealerships would be great IMO. Again, I don't necessarily want them to move...I would just like to see them try to fit in with the changing urban landscape.

Perhaps if a developer makes an offer for say, half the Beaman land, then Beaman could use that money to build a consolidated facility.

I think a combination of the 2nd and 3rd pics would be optimal. Something modern, but with a very inviting face. A good 3 stories or so with floor to ceiling glass.

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Agree, they don't have to go, and probably won't for awhile. Maybe if a developer offered to build their dealership into a design (if it is a relatively large building) they would bite.

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I don't have a problem with car dealerships in urban locations, IF the car dealerships fit into the neighborhood, which obviously, these Beaman dealerships don't achieve.

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I posted this on another thread, but Lee Beaman needs to do his own development on the land he owns in the area. He will make a lot more developing it than he would selling cars and it would contribute to the urban core.

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I was thinking about what Lee Beaman said in that Nashville Post article today about how he likes where they're at because of the high visibility (among other things), and it got me wondering why visibility would be important to a car dealership. It's not as if there is ever someone who is going about their day, driving down the street, and decides to pull in and purchase a car on a whim just because they drive by a dealership and are wooed by the shiny new cars in the lot. I mean, if someone wants a Lexus, they're going to find where the Lexus Dealership is and go there. It's not as if anybody would ever say 'you know I'd really like to purchase a Lexus, but the Mazda dealership is seven minutes closer to my house, so I'll just buy a Mazda instead.' We're talking a product that to most families would be a major purchase, so they will seek it out. Maybe someone can shed a little light on that for me.

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well, i bought my toyota matrix from beaman because even before i moved downtown, i came to the city a lot... and i saw beaman toyota every single time. when the time came, i made a beeline for 16th and broadway.

eric b

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Well, okay, but I'm guessing you didn't decide to buy a Toyota over some other make of car due to the frequency that you drove past the Toyota dealership. That's what I'm saying. If you wanted a Toyota I'm guessing it wouldn't really matter where in the city the dealership was, since this was a big investment and not a jug of milk.

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you're right, by my point is that i really don't even know of any other toyota dealerships in the city (if there are any). for the record, i hate that they're there in that prime location, but it's certainly worked in my case. hopefully they'll move and there'll be a nice tower in that location within my lifetime!

eric b

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Well, okay, but I'm guessing you didn't decide to buy a Toyota over some other make of car due to the frequency that you drove past the Toyota dealership. That's what I'm saying. If you wanted a Toyota I'm guessing it wouldn't really matter where in the city the dealership was, since this was a big investment and not a jug of milk.

I disagree with that. Having a lot with high visibility allows you to display your product effectively. And a LOT of people buy cars based on how they look. Having the image of that car drilled in to your head every time you pass seems like pretty effective marketing, or at the very least, very effective advertising of the models you have in stock.

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^^^ I agree. That's why I think it would make perfect sense for them to build their showrooms to the street and even elevate them for freeway traffic to see.

I'll admit. Anytime I cruise past the Beaman dealership, I'm guilty of glancing in the windows of their showroom. It fronts the street, has big glass windows and is not cluttered. They also tend to show off the upper-trim level of each model. However, my gaze instantly leaves as soon as it enters the rows of inventory with balloons and flags and stuff. It's visual clutter that people tend to look away from.

Besides, many of us are drawn to a car by the one we see on tv or in a showroom (nice wheels, ground effects, leather), but in reality we buy the more affordable one with hubcaps and cloth seats. Why would you ugly down your showroom draw, by keeping all the low trim versions in rows right beside your showroom? Keep them out of the same line of sight.

In the case of the broadway dealerships, they can keep them off sight. Let a buyer come into the showroom, buy the mental image of themselves sitting in the car and THEN take them to the off site inventory for the more affordable versions.

The dealerships could stay where they are, front Broadway, and have 2/3 of their land avaliable for development. Inventory and mechanics can be only a few blocks away.

Which leads me to another point. What would it take to get TDOT (or whoever regulates) to make land avaliable underneath freeways for auto storage? I'm thinking about places like the I-40 overpass between 2nd and 4th south. That's quite a bit of land that could be generating income instead of collecting trash.

Edited by nashvillwill

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Oh I'd definitely prefer to see them in one building fronting the street with big glass windows showcasing the cars. Maybe even having a smallish lot next to it that people can walk in to and browse around in. The Land Rover and Ferrari dealerships near me are both like that. The Ferrari dealership is three stories fronting the street (US 30/Lancaster Ave in Bryn Mawr, PA not quite as big as Broadway, but still a big throughfare) with a medium sized garage and small parking lot to the side. The Land Rover/Jag dealership in Wayne, PA is on the same road, but is slightly set back with nice landscaping and sidewalks in front, with a large, visible showroom and a lot behind the building. Both of which are great for that type of dealer, but neither would EVER happen with Beaman.

I think there's a mindset in car dealers around the country that bigger is better. They advertise their miles and miles of lots with thounsands of cars to choose from. "Come visit us, see every car possible and don't have to wait for delivery (when you may change your mind...)!" That's what's being played on commercials, not "come see the top models of the cars, and we'll order exactly what you want, which will be here in three to five business days." It's too much of a sell-at-all-costs industry right now. The current owners of these dealerships see themselves as having a prime spot on a main throughfare in downtown while also having the benefits of a sprawling suburban-style car lot. Short sighted? Maybe so. But does it make sense for them to move right now unless someone is willing to plop down an amount that is probably much higher than market value?

I'm just not convinced we'll see these places move in the next 10 to 20 years. For better or for worse, they're more concerned with keeping the money rolling in, not chancing it elsewhere, even if it is detrimental to the neighborhood.

Edited by Nathan_in_PHL

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...I'm just not convinced we'll see these places move in the next 10 to 20 years. For better or for worse, they're more concerned with keeping the money rolling in, not chancing it elsewhere, even if it is detrimental to the neighborhood.

I tend to agree.... nothing succeeds like success and it would appear that these dealerships have been pretty successful over the years.. I wouldn't anticipate them risking their own success for the sake of the well-being of the neighborhood.

I always thought these dealerships were kind of cool where they are, but I'm beginning to evolve on that.. I agree that a smaller footprint would be desirable (for us) but just don't see it happening anytime soon :cry:

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I think there's a mindset in car dealers around the country that bigger is better. They advertise their miles and miles of lots with thounsands of cars to choose from. "Come visit us, see every car possible and don't have to wait for delivery (when you may change your mind...)!" That's what's being played on commercials, not "come see the top models of the cars, and we'll order exactly what you want, which will be here in three to five business days."

Yeah, then wait for a hail storm to come through and damage every car on that vast, open lot. Then the sale prices get really good!

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Yeah, then wait for a hail storm to come through and damage every car on that vast, open lot. Then the sale prices get really good!

The car dealers love that, too. It's big money whenever hail hits.

Maybe that's why Beaman wants an outdoor lot....HA

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I came across some urban auto dealerships just north of Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan. Obviously, the Mercedes dealership is my preference but they were all nicely done.

2012-10-12%2012.27.01.jpg

2012-10-12%2012.33.37.jpg

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I also think it's possible that they could remain where they are but be incorporated into whatever new development was to go on their current plot of land. I have been to many cities in the world and it is very common to have the showroom on the bottom floor or floors of a high rise. It would be no different then having another sort of retail. I know that the dealerships would loose quite a bit of land for parking their vehicles but If I am not mistaken, don't the current dealerships on Broadway have other parcels else where that their inventory and body shops are housed?

Heck imagine even if there was some sort of high rise built on Beaman's current location and their name was placed on the tower i.e. Beaman Tower. How much more exposure could he get?? lol

Edited by bruceman73
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I also think it's possible that they could remain where they are but be incorporated into whatever new development was to go on their current plot of land. I have been to many cities in the world and it is very common to have the showroom on the bottom floor or floors of a high rise. It would be no different then having another sort of retail. I know that the dealerships would loose quite a bit of land for parking their vehicles but If I am not mistaken, don't the current dealerships on Broadway have other parcels else where that their inventory and body shops are housed?

Heck imagine even if there was some sort of high rise built on Beaman's current location and their name was placed on the tower i.e. Beaman Tower. How much more exposure could he get?? lol

Exactly.

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