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Tesla finds its spot on Broad Street

Michael Thompson April 4, 2016 5

Tesla has leased the property formerly housed by Bassett Furniture.

Tesla has leased the property formerly housed by Bassett Furniture.

While waiting for the green light from the DMV to open a dealership in Richmond, Tesla isn’t sitting idle in its hunt for local real estate.

The electric carmaker, which has sparked controversy among the state’s auto dealer industry in recent weeks, has leased the 30,000-square-foot property at 9850 W. Broad St.

The Broad Street site is owned by Weinstein Properties. Weinstein spokesman Ivan Jecklin confirmed Friday that Tesla has leased the space. He would not discuss when the lease was finalized or how it came about.

A Tesla Model S

A Tesla Model S

The deal comes as Tesla’s desires to operate in Richmond remain in regulatory limbo. At issue is whether the California-based company meets the standards for an exception to state code that prevents manufacturers from selling cars directly to consumers. The issue could take months to resolve as the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association is fighting to halt the company’s plans.

Tesla could not be reached for comment about the lease.

Jecklin said Weinstein developed the property in 2000 for Bassett Furniture. It sits on 2.2 acres and has been vacant since Bassett left a few years ago.

The debate surrounding Tesla hasn’t put a damper on its landlord’s hopes for the carmaker.

“I’m not worried at all,” Jecklin said.

Tesla could not be reached for comment about the lease.

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  1. Jim Washok April 4, 2016 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Yay for competition. Good for Tesla! I find it ridiculous that government is somehow looking out for the best interests of citizens by preventing auto manufacturers from selling direct. More like looking out for the best interest of lobbyists. We can buy phones directly from Apple, sneakers directly from Nike, and tires directly from Goodyear. I guess such regulation was originally intended to protect jobs by preventing manufacturers from rocking the economic boat by price cutting dealers out of existence, but this may also be preventing some jobs. In the end, best for competition to decide what jobs are needed. Consumer choice is essential.

    • MARK DEUTSCH April 4, 2016 at 8:51 am - Reply

      Well said Jim (Washok). I agree completely. Simply absurd to artificially control free markets. Fair competition is essential to free markets. The VADA & the Commonwealth of VA attempting to control competition is crazy tomfoolery. Allow the consumers / market to decide Tesla’s fate.

    • Frank Reid April 13, 2016 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      I agree, Jim. What I cannot comprehend is how it is in the “public interest” for regulation to add a layer of expense (physical location, salespeople, administrative overhead, inventory carrying costs, to name a few) onto a vehicle that consumers would gladly purchase direct from the manufacturer. It really sounds like protectionism that benefits the class of business investors who can afford the startup costs for all of that dealership-related stuff, and subsequently profit from it.

  2. Ron Virgin April 4, 2016 at 11:05 am - Reply

    I rarely see our so-called conservative, business-friendly, Republican-controlled state legislature propose or pass laws that actually bring business to the state responsibly. What I see instead are more policies that benefit the establishment and insiders only.

  3. Matt Harris April 5, 2016 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    If you are FOR Tesla building a store front in Richmond, you need to write your local delegate, state senator or contact the DMV Comissioner below. Remember, the DMV is directly biased towards the VADA on this issue and the public needs to speak out. Call you delegate!

    The VADA will oppose Tesla in Legislation during the 2017 general assembly. They need to be stopped. Remember that VADA is attempting to block competition in a capitalist free market society.

    Richard D. Holcomb Commissioner
    [email protected]
    TELEPHONE – (804) 367-6606
    FAX (804) 367-2296

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