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Tesla Hits Obstacles As It Attempts Michigan Expansion

With a rocky start to the year for Tesla, with production issues and being overtaken as the biggest EV manufacturer, they are now looking to expand into Michigan.

It has been reported that Tesla is looking at a 42,600 square foot space on the west side of Orchard Lake Road, which used to be a Barnes & Nobles so would be ideal for a new Tesla shop. The West Bloomfield Township is looking to transform the area into a town centre with residential retail and office spaces.

Curtis Enterprises are trying to purchase the commercial space from Orchard Book Property LLC. This transaction will need to be complete before Tesla can look to rent out the space. This is obviously normal and not difficult to overcome, however, the main obstacle Tesla will need to overcome is that The West Bloomfield Township will need to approve an exception to their plans to allow Tesla to rent there.

The current plans would require car dealerships to only display and store their vehicles indoors, however, Michael Curtis Sr (Head of Curtis Enterprises) is pushing for permission for Tesla to be able to have its vehicles outside.

The chairperson for the township planning commission, Kathy Hagopian, has said that they are aiming for a ‘downtown-like’ feeling which is why they are wanting vehicles to be indoors. Hagopian explained to Crain’s Detroit Business:

“We’re trying to encourage our populace to come and visit and stay and walk the area. We’re trying to discourage having a lot of parking lots that are seen [from] the street and things like that. We want to make it more of a downtown district, is what we want.”

Although Tesla stores are usually more than the conventional car dealership with multipurpose areas, Gordon Bowdell who is the township’s building director and zoning and planning manager, has argued that “the use and visual impact is the same as a traditional auto dealer with expansive parking lots use [sic] to store/display vehicles.”