ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tesla Motors plan to take over an old furniture store location in the Lealman area of Pinellas County will proceed, following a unanimous vote by the county’s board of commissioners. If plans and permits are approved, construction will start in July.
According to a representative’s release on the deal, the Tesla site will be a redevelopment of 4.2 acres of land on U.S. 19, in the Lealman suburb of St. Petersburg. Formerly a Kane’s Furniture liquidation center, once Tesla completes redevelopment, the spot on 34th Street will be a 102,000 square foot dealership and repair site for Tesla cars.
“Under the redevelopment plans, TRG will reconfigure the current building footprint to make way for a 52,000 square foot SSD operation,” according to representatives from Delray Beach-based Truett Realty Group. “The remaining enclosed space will be utilized for indoor vehicular storage and is expected to accommodate 170 vehicles.”
TRG handled the property purchase, which completed “earlier this week,” according to a statement sent to WFLA.com. Construction is expected to start in the summer and will be the fourth Tesla redevelopment project helmed by TRG since 2021.
“We’re thrilled to execute on an adaptive reuse project that will transform a building originally developed as a distribution center into a state-of-the-art Tesla facility,” TRG Principal Rob Truett said. “Our redevelopment projects are extremely rewarding as they provide a cost-efficient way to enter markets with high barriers to entry while promoting a sustainable environment.”
The Pinellas Board of County Commissioners established the Lealman Community Redevelopment Area in 2016, creating a special district of about 2,500 acres for redevelopment and revitalization. Tesla, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, is known for production and sale of its proprietary electric cars.
From documents filed when the takeover was first proposed, Tesla plans to turn the location into a sales, service and delivery center for its customers, as well as provide repair services to local Tesla owners.
“This location will operate as a traditional automotive dealership model where customers can be come familiar with different vehicle models, test drive cars, purchase and/or lease vehicles, take possession of vehicles purchased either in store or online and have their vehicles serviced, repaired and/or have routine maintenance performed,” the letter of intent given to the Pinellas County Board of Adjustment and Appeals said in April.
According to TRG, financing for the purchase was provided by Valley National Bank. Similar work was
“The importance of this deal for Lealman cannot be understated”, says Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice. “Tesla recognizes what we’ve been saying… Lealman is on the rise. And Lealman is ready to welcome you and your business too.”
While Tesla may be taking over the Kane’s site, the company won’t be moving too far away. The liquidation center is expected to move just across the street to the Kane’s Furniture store on 34th Street North.
“We welcome Tesla to the neighborhood and are confident that they’ll be great corporate citizens and a major asset to Pinellas County,” Irwin Novack, CEO of Kane’s Furniture said.
Going forward site plan approval and permitting will need to complete. TRG said they hope to begin construction on the Tesla redevelopment in July, following those steps.
The sale of the Kane’s Furniture Liquidation Center was priced at $13 million for the deed, sold to St. Petersburg Motors, LLC, with additional mortgage valued at $17.687 million, according to records publicly available at the Pinellas County Clerk of Court.