Automobile Dealerships in Urban Storefronts
Although the vast majority of auto dealerships in the United States are comprised of sprawling showrooms, service bays, and large surface lots for inventory, some dealerships in major metropolitan areas are adapting to meet the needs of more savvy urban consumers. In the Washington region, one of the newest examples is Porsche of Rockville in Maryland. Earlier this year, the luxury franchise revealed its plan to open in Rockville’s popular new Pike & Rose mixed-use development, where it will join retailers such as Lucky Brand Jeans, GAP, and REI. Unlike traditional auto dealerships, the Porsche inventory will be stored in a parking garage.
Elsewhere in the region, urban-format dealerships can be found in downtown Bethesda, where Ourisman Volkswagen and Volvo occupies the ground floor of an apartment building – 7001 Arlington at Bethesda. Directly across the street, Euro Motorcars occupies a storefront-style building, while its Mercedes-Benz inventory is kept in a parking garage nearby.
As other suburban hubs in the area redevelop into increasingly urban environments, it remains to be seen whether more auto dealers will embrace a higher-density format, especially if they are the businesses being displaced with new development. This is particularly true of Tysons, where traditionally a substantial amount of land has been occupied by auto dealerships, but which is shedding those uses in favor of mixed-use development.