Creative uses for former dealerships

What to do with the many shuttered dealerships that now dot the commercial landscape across America? Many former dealers still own their property and are wrangling with that question.

Some are finding answers. Holiday Chevrolet, a Farmington Hills, Mich., dealership shuttered last year after General Motors targeted it for termination, will live on as a private school for gifted students beginning in September. The school bought the suburban Detroit dealership property for $1 million, according to Crain's Detroit Business, an Automotive News sibling publication. The old showroom will be turned into classroom space and the service department into a gymnasium.

Other interesting reuses have crossed our desks here.

One organization has leased space in at least one Midwestern dealership to small startup businesses and wants to convert other former dealerships into these microbusiness centers. A Cadillac dealership in Oakland, Calif., became a Whole Foods grocery store. Another dealership outside Washington was outfitted as a gym.

Conventional wisdom has been that dealership facilities are really only suited for selling and servicing vehicles, so it's good to see some creative thinking.