PARRAMATTA Road has long been known as Auto Alley but that is changing as car dealerships close and new businesses move in. Vehicle sale yards have been some of the hardest hit by the growth of the internet, with many turning into showrooms rather than sales areas. As a result, investors are looking to relet large car yards on the busy Sydney road to new enterprises. The revamp also extends towards the Macquarie Park and Ryde area. Agents at Taylor Nicholas have. argued that as councils continue to debate the best way to improve Parramatta Road, real estate investors could be the ones who make the real difference to the busy strip. The director of Taylor Nicholas Inner West, George Danilidis, said there had been a significant rise in sales activity in the area, particularly among major brands looking to build their presence on the major artery. ‘‘Several councils along Parramatta Road are examining zoning options to rejuvenate their respective portions of the road,’’ he said. ‘‘In particular, Canada Bay Council is assessing future land-use mix and economic feasibilities to help make the most of the current interest in the strip. Parramatta Road is known for its abundance of small enterprises that service larger businesses and industrial warehouses, and the plans to further develop Parramatta Road will only open up new opportunities for investors and businesses.’’But he said the high-profile tenants moving into the area would make the real difference. Mr Danilidis said recent moves by leading brands included the purchase of a Haberfield site by McDonald’s for a new restaurant, liquor chain Dan Murphy’s had signed a lease on a property in Burwood and Prouds the Jewellers had built a multistorey headquarters in Summer Hill. ‘‘Added to this list is the massive 14,000-square-metreCostco store at Auburn, which opened earlier this year,’’ he said. ‘‘It is these types of businesses that will serve as anchor tenants, drive fresh business to operations in the area and will add far more than simple rezoning could do on its own.’’ As new businesses settle on the strip, more office parks are moving into the Macquarie Park Corridor and North Ryde. The advent of the parks in the area means more demand for a variety of new businesses along nearby arterial roads. Recent research by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) shows the vacancy rate in Macquarie Park has decreased 5.6 percentage points to 6.5 per cent in the past year, representing the lowest vacancy rate recorded in more than three years. Statistics also show that Macquarie Park, after recording negative net absorption of 1100 square metres in the second quarter this year, has bounced back with positive net absorption of 6500 square metres in the third quarter. This year, JLL has negotiated seven major leases in Macquarie Park that total 27,000 square metres, compared with three major leases last year totaling 9000 square metres.