Model 3 reservation hopefuls that lined up on the day of Model 3 Mania in front of the manufacturer’s Santa Monica showroom are well acquainted with the tiny boutique-like space that bears the name to arguably one of the world’s most talked about brands – Tesla. Nestled amongst narrow two-story Art Deco buildings lies Tesla’s 3,000 square foot storefront on famed Third Street Promenade – a local hotspot for Los Angeleans and tourists alike.
The real estate purchased for $2.75 million, or $917 per square foot, in 2006 by Tigris Group, an entity registered in Pinecrest, Florida, was just sold for a whopping $15.6 million. That represents a near 570% gain with a single square foot priced at $5,200 for Tesla’s current landlord. The Real Deal reports that New York-based KLM Equities and Harlington Realty closed on the purchase of Tesla’s storefront late last month, according to a release from CBRE. According to CRBE’s Timothy Bower, there were multiple bids on the property due to popularity of the location which doesn’t often see real estate turnovers. Bower tells The Real Deal, “The real estate on the Third Street Promenade trades infrequently. When it does, it is in high demand. Sometimes these deals don’t even get to market. The moment we released this offering, we had a lot of interest in it.”
Tesla Showroom in Santa Monica [Source: Sharon VanderKaay | creative commons]
Though Tesla Motors will have a new landlord, the Silicon Valley automaker doesn’t have any plans on leaving and will keep its existing lease agreement, as is. In terms of a fallback plan for the real estate buyer, “It was an investment deal and as long as Tesla’s lease is in place, the property will be in its present form,” said Bower. “If they don’t stay, way down road, there is potential to redevelop. The evolution of the area is a two-story retail format, so that’s certainly a possibility in the future.”
The $5,200 per square foot price may seem exorbitant, but it’s not uncommon for storefronts lining the famed beachside attraction. Just a few doors down is Apple’s ubiquitous glass-front showroom which sold in 2014 to an affiliate of KLM for $100 million, or $5,700 a square foot.
By comparison, stores along the prestigious shopping streets in Beverly Hills demand almost four times as much. The Bijan store on Rodeo Drive recently sold for $122 million, or $19,405 a square foot.
KLM also owns the famed Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and various storefronts in nearby Venice.
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