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VOL. 116 | NO. 104 | Thursday, May 30, 2002

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Cadallac-Saab of Memphis moves from Covington Pike Cadillac dealer test drives new market By SUE PEASE The Daily News A car dealership located on Covington Pike since 1987 is moving to Cordova to be closer to potential buyers. Cadillac-Saab of Memphis, 2177 Covington Pike, is building a new dealership at 7733 U.S. Highway 64 and plans to move there in December when construction is complete. "Because of the growth around the Wolfchase mall area, we felt it would be to our advantage to move further east with good access to Interstate 40," said Gary Davis, owner-dealer of Cadillac-Saab. The Cordova areas demographics are more in line with Cadillacs market, he said. "As far as household income and the target age market is 35 to 50 those are more of what our demographic is as defined by Cadillac." The project, including land acquisition costs, will total about $5 million, Davis said. Construction on the seven-acre site began last month. The dealership will be a national image design facility, meaning its appearance will be in line with the national franchise standard. Cindy Kamerad, Cadillac communications manager, said the companys new retail centers reflect the new direction Cadillac is taking. Along with its new designs being rolled out such as the CTS or next years roadster, XLR, the retail environments are designed to show a contemporary, "futuristic luxury," she said. "We have a brand new look coming out for Cadillac. As part of that, we also are changing our retail environments," Kamerad said. Building the dealership is Memphis firm Montgomery Martin Contractors Inc. Davis has owned the Covington Pike dealership since October 1995. The site is for sale, he said. Davis father, Bud Davis, owns the Cadillac dealership in Memphis at 5433 Poplar Ave. According to a trust deed filed in the Shelby County Registers Office, the U.S. 64 property was purchased in November, but because the developer went into bankruptcy, construction was delayed, said Burk Renner, Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development principal planner. The developer, Pinnacle Lending LLC, gained approval in 1997 for a planned development on a 21-acre site, of which the Cadillac site is a part. At the time the planned development was making its way through the city for approval, there was some residential opposition to it, because area homeowners didnt want any commercial building nearby, Renner said. The developer promised to leave a buffer of trees between the commercial development and residential area, which seemed to satisfy the residents, Renner said. The Cadillac project was not part of the planned development at that time, nor does it back up to the southern border where the residential area is located. Car dealers for decades have had a stronghold on Covington Pike, but recently have been looking to Northeast Memphis for sites, although at times, auto dealers have had difficulty landing a home close to Wolfchase Galleria. "Nobody wanted (car dealers) on Germantown Parkway south of 64 or south of the interstate. Nobody wanted it to turn into another Covington Pike. I guess maybe it seems like the majority of the dealerships are relocating into Bartlett as a result," Renner said. While Northeast Memphis is witnessing more automobile dealerships, Covington Pike, often referred to as "auto alley" is still a strong market for car sales. "There is still a good viability in that area to me, but I think over the next decade, youll see some more shifts," Renner said.
PROPERTY SALES 51 180 16,377
MORTGAGES 21 57 10,144
BUILDING PERMITS 103 665 39,209
BANKRUPTCIES 31 107 7,704