Blight ideas

One of the least pleasant sections of overwrought May Avenue is roughly 30th to 40th, which has tedious (at best) architecture, pavement below the local standard (which is pretty damned poor), and several of these:

An often-overlooked opportunity for infill development is a ubiquitous land use across disinvested inner cities: the mom-and-pop, unlicensed used car dealership. We’ve all seen them before: names like “R&W Auto Sales” (pick your favorite two letters and separate with an ampersand), prices never into the five digits (and sometimes not even four), no website, and signage along the lines of “buy now and take home”. It isn’t a particularly bold statement to suggest that small used dealerships flourish in low-income neighborhoods. They are a cue that land values in the area are low: aside from the fact that they are more likely to locate close to their demographic base, these dealerships need cheap land to operate. Obviously they require more space than a convenience store or a tax filing service in order to run the business; their inventory occupies a parking lot. And since the inventory is already significantly devalued, the best way to guarantee a secure profit margin is to operate on land where the per square foot costs are rock bottom.

The May Avenue model offers exactly one improvement: mom and pop are staying home, and the Big Boys are pretending to be small-timers. Bob Moore wouldn’t have put his own name on Eldorado Motors, though its establishment during the days when Moore had a single-line dealership — yep, Cadillac — should have been a clue. And that secure profit margin is made more so by scary-looking interest rates.

One could argue that, as with payday-loan joints, these operations are providing a service for the poor, though the inspiration seems to be less Mother Teresa than Canada Bill Jones, who insisted on the immorality of allowing suckers to keep their money.

Comments are closed.