Well, that didn't take long.
The local funnies reported that when David Johnson's family of dealerships bought up Elkins Chrysler/Kia in downtown Durham, the plan was to move the dealership from downtown to the Southpoint Auto Park off NC 751 at I-40. Heck, the Elkins dealership's new "Johnson" signs are currently just banners over the old Elkins name.
Looks like they may not bother replacing the signs. According to Tuesday's Triangle Business Journal and Wednesday's N&O, Durham developer Scientific Properties has purchased the six-acre site and intends some mix of retail, residential, or housing on it.
The location of the dealership -- which is sandwiched between Mangum and Roxboro Streets just north of NC 147 and just south of the new Durham County courthouse -- is a real strategic win for Scientific. It provides a 'missing link' in connecting their Venable project with the Heritage Square project they have proposed just south of 147. (In the image at right, the Venable is in red, the dealership in blue.) Furthermore, it connects to the ballpark and American Tobacco Phase III right to the west of the property -- though with Mangum in the way and the inward-focus of ATHD, it'd take herculean feats to create pedestrian-scale connections there.
I'd personally guess that Scientific doesn't have any immediate plans for the space and won't until they finish leasing up the Venable and get Heritage Square and Golden Belt well along the way. Still, this remains a major land acquisition and one which gives them a much-increased physical presence in downtown.