St. Petersburg, FL (May 2, 2022) ─ Delray Beach, FL-based Truett Realty Group (TRG) recently received unanimous approval from Pinellas County to redevelop a 4.2-acre site on U.S 19 in the Lealman suburb of St. Petersburg into the County’s first Tesla sales, service and delivery (SSD) center. TRG closed on the property earlier this week.
The Redevelopment Site
The site is located at 4601 34th Street North and includes a 102,000-square-foot (SF) building which previously operated as a Kane’s Furniture liquidation center. Under the redevelopment plans, TRG will reconfigure the current building footprint to make way for a 52,000 square foot SSD operation. The remaining enclosed space will be utilized for indoor vehicular storage and is expected to accommodate 170 vehicles.
TRG Principal Rob Truett said, “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. 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.”
TRG expects to begin construction this summer. This project marks the Company’s fourth Tesla redevelopment project since 2021.
Community Redevelopment Area
The Pinellas Board of County Commissioners has prioritized redevelopment in the Lealman community by establishing it as the first-ever Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) in an unincorporated area in 2016. County and CRA staff worked closely with TRG to secure approval from the Board of Adjustments and Appeals to allow for vehicle sales on the property, which otherwise was not allowed due to its industrial zoning.
The CRA is approximately 2,500 acres and is bounded by the City of St. Petersburg to the south and east, Pinellas Park to the north and Kenneth City to the west. The CRA’s revitalization strategy includes reinvesting in Lealman’s commercial and residential properties, and by capitalizing on its strong environmental and recreational assets, including planned projects such as the Raymond H. Neri Community Park master plan, the adjacent 77,000 sq. ft. Lealman Exchange Community Center, and the Joe’s Creek restoration project, which includes a multi-modal trail that will connect to the Pinellas Trail. CRA’s are funded through Tax Increment Financing (TIF), meaning that this investment will help not only by bringing good jobs to the area, but also through the improvements to the property, which will generate additional TIF dollars for the CRA to reinvest in the community.
“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.”
Financing the Redevelopment
Financing for the project was provided by Valley National Bank, whose long-standing relationship with TRG’s Truett and his partner Jacob Khotoveli of JBL Asset Management includes the financing of three other U.S. Tesla SSD and Collision Centers, including one in Orlando and another in Fort Lauderdale. The Pinellas County Tesla SSD falls under the CRA classification for Valley National Bank, which focuses on driving financing support to communities with incomes lower than the County average.
“Our strong history with Rob and Jacob was a major driver in financing this project,” said Jordan Simler, Senior Vice President and Commercial Banking Team Leader for Valley Bank. “We especially value his focus on redevelopment projects that drive economic and beautification efforts for underserved communities. This is the second CRA-classified Tesla Center that we have financed.”
The Kane’s Liquidation center will move across the street to 4501 34th Street North behind the main Kane’s Furniture store located at the same address.
Irwin Novack, CEO of Kane’s Furniture said, “We welcome Tesla to the neighborhood and are confident that they’ll be great corporate citizens and a major asset to Pinellas County.”