GM Wants To Take Away Knapp

On the list of dealerships General Motors intends to shut down: Knapp Chevrolet, at 815 Houston Ave. just south of Washington. Back in May, GM notified the longtime Downtown dealership of its intent to terminate its franchise agreement as of Halloween 2010.

Since then, the dealership’s owners have been trying to get the decision reversed: President Robert G. Knapp presented his case to a congressional subcommittee in July, after several appeals to the company were rejected. Knapp claims his dealership has been profitable, and that closing the dealership would significantly hobble GM’s local market share. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has gotten involved, introducing a bill in Congress that would make it easier for dealerships to appeal franchise terminations in court. Knapp is also collecting a list of supporters through an online petition to GM. More than 6,200 supporters have added their names to the list so far.

One of those supporters: The Greater Houston Preservation Alliance, fans of Knapp’s moderne corner building, completed in 1941, 2 years after the dealership was first established.

Photo of Knapp Chevrolet: Chris Adams

9 Comment

  • Profitable is one thing, profitable enough not to be in the bottom 20% is another.

    My crystal ball sees the wonderful architecture being preserved, at least the showroom portion, not the service bay, and being partitioned into 1)yet another wine bar with a gregariously subtle name(POPPED, Corked, unskrewd, et. al) 2)a lunchtime bistro/cafe for the municipal court people, police and bailbondsmen with $9 pesto chicken on flatbread sandwiches 3)faux-antique fittings and doorknobs store.

    Perhaps a Starbucks thrown in for good measure when gallon of gas is back up to 60% of a cup(venti!) of their finely brewed wares and Energy Capital of the World city status-times are good.

  • Depending on how much inventory Knapp has at stake, he may just want to change franchises and go with something that actually sells.

    Ford is only real American automaker if you must go American, but any other automaker is fine to if the dealerships employees can have their jobs spared.

  • Won’t be Ford… Tommy Vaughn is right up Shepherd… Really for roadside assitance/warranty work, this is the only GM dealer for a ways that’s no lux-focused. There was the Buick dealer in River Oaks but that’s been gone for years. I’m thinking more high-end for the new hipster neighbors… maybe Lexus to compete with the Midtown Bimmer/Caddy. though it is close to the jail… hmmmmm.

  • He may be slightly profitable now, but with Washington Avenue property values rising so quickly, I can’t imagine the dealership would be able to keep up with the costs associated with this location. Save Knapp now, but unfortunately I see the issue of having to sell this property as something that Knapp himself will revisit each year.

  • I won’t mind seeing this dealer go out of business. They have an awful service department. Had to take my car to another dealer to fix what they messed up.

  • Good riddance! This landmark has for too long stood in the way of shiny-shirt progress. Think of how many bars with names like “Elite,” “Wealth,” or “Entitled” you could fit on that property!

    For my money, I might just have to call if the Bourgeoises, in honor of the now defunct Proletariat. And by “in honor of” I mean “urinating upon the memory of.”

  • If SJL is for it, then I’m against it!

  • Knapp shoulda donated more to the Obama campaign! ;-)

  • Rather than close Knapp down, maybe they should just stop big giant trucks from parking in the front parking spaces and sticking out into Houston Avenue. Unfornately, one of Knapp’s patrons who had his huge double-wide pickup parked in one of those tiny spaces this morning had a metal pole sticking out from his trailer hitch and opened up a girl’s brand new SUV like a can opener on the way to work this morning. One of these days, there’s going to be a serious accident there.