Thursday, March 26, 2009

Recycling Col. Glenn: AutoNation to Home Depot

One of the differences between an economically active suburban area and place like Dayton city, which is drained of economic life, is that property gets recycled fairly quickly instead of sitting empty or torn down for vacant lots.

A good example is this fairly large tract between New Germany and the office parks off the eastern reaches of Colonel Glenn. It and its neighbor across the street would be developed into large scale retail establishments, Meijer and AutoNation. Meijer would survive, and AutoNation would not.

In 1989 the parcel had only the Fairborn water sphere, which is familiar landmark along I-675.

AutoNation USA was H Wayne Huizenga's attempt to do with used cars what he did with garabage hauling (Waste Management) and video rental (Blockbuster Video). Which is to take a mostly local, low-end type of service or business, and transform it into a consistently branded and marketed enterprise of national scope and high volume.

So these AutoNation USA mega used-car lots were built across the country. This was Dayton's.

The concept failed and the mega-lots were closed in 1999 (nationwide, not just here). The above 2000 aeriel shows the vacant lot, with some road improvements (cul-de-sacs for the two roads leading to the site).

Sometime in the 2000s the property was redeveloped into a little retail place. A Home Depot big box, a tire sales place, and a themed restaurant replaced AutoNation.
What's interesting is how the water spehere now sits alone next to the big bog. And the road system was rationalized so one can wind ones way through the Home Depot parking lot from New Germany road to the extended Executive Boulevard, as a parallel alternative route to Colonel Glenn.

The restaurant, "Quaker Steak", on a retro gas station theme, using Quaker State Oil branding.

And the quintessential suburban scene: big box and modernist water tower under a big blue sky. It's morning in America:

...the ever-evolving suburban landscape.

1 comment:

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