Contact Us

Push For More Housing Has Apartments Replacing Car Dealerships

The 305-unit Millennium Mission Valley by The Dinerstein Cos. is one of a number of new residential projects underway or planned in Mission Valley.

Apartments are beginning to replace San Diego car dealerships. The latest examples include the $103.5M Jefferson Pacific Beach, a 172-unit project by Texas-based JPI that will break ground in September on the three-acre site of the former Guy Hill Cadillac dealership at 4275 Mission Bay Drive in Pacific Beach. Another Texas developer, The Dinerstein Cos., is under construction on Millennium Mission Valley, a 305-unit project on a 5.4-acre site in Mission Valley that is replacing the Bob Baker Ford dealership on Camino de Reina, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Court records show JPI paid $21.6M for the Pacific Beach site and Dinerstein paid $18.7M for the Mission Valley site. Urbanologist Ed McMahon, a senior Urban Land Institute resident fellow, told the Union-Tribune redevelopment of car dealerships is happening nationwide, but especially in growing cities where millennials are working in urban centers where they do not need to own a car and use Uber, cars2go, bikes and mass transit to get around.

CORRECTION, AUG. 30 3:17 P.M. PT: A previous version of this story had the wrong amount for the $103.5M Jefferson Pacific Beach development. The story has been updated.

JPI is building this 172-unit apartment project on the three-acre site of the
former Guy Hill Cadillac dealership.

He said this is another example of adaptive reuse projects resulting from changing demographics and economics, where the land a dealership occupies has become more valuable than the business structure.

There are about 130 car dealerships in San Diego County, and more of them are likely to be replaced by development as autonomous cars come online and more people opt for bikes, shared-car services and mass transit. Some car dealerships have been replaced by hotels. University of San Diego real estate finance professor Norm Miller told the Union-Tribune that by 2030, dealerships may be redeveloped into mixed-use projects with housing above retail that may include car dealerships.