Two vacant auto dealerships on Detroit Avenue might see some new life after one of the property owners agreed to allow the city to explore development opportunities.
But any grand plans may have to wait a while.
Mayor Michael Summers and Dru Siley, the assistant director of planning and development, met recently with Al Spitzer — of the Spitzer Auto Group — to discuss the future of the property.
The city is also eyeing potential uses for the abandoned Ganley dealership a few blocks away.
Summers said Spitzer agreed to allow the city move forward with its idea to collect proposals from developers.
“That allows is to take some offense,” Summers said. “I am hopeful that we can attract some developers who are doing this all over the country,” he said, adding that the city will be able to explore the options with the much-anticipated release of US Census information. “I guess the key is that we can get more experienced minds working on this and get some ideas.”
It’s the land that’s available that city officials believe will be the main selling point.
The vacant Spitzer dealership in the 13900 block of Detroit Avenue sits on about two acres of land. The Ganley dealership — at the intersection of Detroit and Grace avenues — has a 30,000-square-feet structure on just over an acre of land.
Siley said in a city like Lakewood — which he said has nearly reached its development potential — and having that much land to develop, is a valuable resource.
And with an estimated 8,000 automobiles that pass that area each day, so is the location.
“For urban sites in a city like Lakewood, on a street like Detroit, those are pretty good chunks of land,” Siley said.
The properties don’t have a price tag yet, but Siley said that’s one of the next steps.
The existing buildings probably wouldn’t be a part of a developer’s plans, he added.
“Reusing that kind of building — it was (built) specifically for a car dealership — as it is, would a real challenge,” Siley said.
One potential use for the land is single-story housing for seniors.
“What we’re seeing in our market, is that we don’t have a great supply,” he said. “Seniors don’t want to shovel snow, they don’t want to deal with stairs or a big house — but they don’t want to live in an apartment. We want to be able to keep (seniors) here.”
The land, zoned for commercial purposes, could also be eyed for a “mixed-use project.”
“The market is going to drive what those properties will become — we just want to let people know they are available.”