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Business Observer Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021 7 months ago

Motor Enclave

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Unique facility is a dream come true for well-to-do gearheads.
by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

Project: Motor Enclave

Location: 6499 N. Falkenburg Road, Tampa

Cost: $100 million

Size: 200 acres 

Builder: CSI Construction Services Inc.

Architect: Hermann Tilke  

Project details: Motor Enclave is many things: storage facility; sports car test track and off-road course; and hospitality, event and office space. Developer Brad Oleshansky likens it to “Topgolf, but for motorsports.” A better comparison, given its size and scope, might be Disney World for auto enthusiasts.

'There's a big difference between a rich guy with a car and a car guy who's rich.' Brad Oleshansky, developer of Motor Enclave

At its core, the project will provide 300 “car condos” priced from $225,000 to $600,000. Some will span multiple levels and can be outfitted pretty much however the buyer wants, Oleshansky says. “The sky’s the limit for customization. We can get them one of our preferred contractors or they can do something on their own.”

And just like a traditional condo community, there will be an HOA and each unit will be metered individually for power and water use. “You could have your cars on one level and then an office on the top,” says Oleshansky, a former entertainment lawyer who has already developed a similar property, the 87-acre M1 Concourse, in Pontiac, Michigan. He targeted Tampa for the Motor Enclave project after an exhaustive review of demographic and economic data from metro areas across the country (Nashville and Columbus, Ohio, are also in his crosshairs).

“Tampa came up as one of the top spots,” he says. “There is a sort of nascent car scene here. It’s not like Miami, which has a lot of exotic cars — that’s not predictive of my type of buyer. When you look at the cars that are registered in this area, there a lot of classic cars, a lot of muscle cars, a lot of performance cars.”

Also, unlike Miami, Tampa is not necessarily a hotspot for well-to-do car enthusiasts who want to flaunt their flashy rides around town. The folks here, Oleshansky says, would rather put them through their paces on a performance track or kick up some dirt on a backwoods trail.

“There's a big difference between a rich guy with a car and a car guy who's rich,” he says.

Cool factor: Motor Enclave is not just for car owners. With 40,000 square feet of event and hospitality space, Oleshansky envisions it as a hub for auto-based tourism, a place for corporate retreats and team-building exercises. He believes it will also attract high-revenue promotional events staged by automakers, who up until now had to go to other locations, such as Sebring International Raceway, to stage vehicle demonstrations.

File. Brad Oleshansky is developing, at a cost of $100 million, the 200-acre Motor Enclave complex in Tampa.

“All the manufacturers are moving away from auto shows and toward experiential driving programs,” Oleshansky says.

That brings up another ultra-cool aspect of Motor Enclave: a sense of community. Condo owners, who must pay a one-time membership fee of $30,000 and then $6,000 per year, will enjoy access to a high-performance driving school and they’ll be able to rent out the test track and off-road course for private events. The facility will also offer defensive driving programs for police officers and firefighters.

Oleshansky plans to spare no expense on the project, which is due to break ground in November and should be open for business in late summer 2022.

“We don’t cut corners,” he says. “A lot of guys who build these car condos and garages, they’re just for storage. I build these more like residential buildings in terms of quality level. If they tell me it needs three inches of concrete, I go with six inches. If they tell me it needs a one-ton air conditioner, I go with 10. Everything is over the top.”

That commitment to quality seems to be resonating. Oleshansky says he needed to pre-sell 50 of the 300 units prior to breaking ground. To date, he’s sold 175. And unlike the Pontiac facility, which drew about 90% of its buyers from the Detroit metro area, the Tampa Motor Enclave has generated pre-sales from clients as far away as Orlando, Boca Raton and Naples.

“That wasn’t in my business plan,” he says. “Here, I’ve got more than 25% [of buyers] who live over an hour away.”

Challenges: Startup capital hasn’t been an issue for Motor Enclave. Oleshansky has no formal investors or partners. But many of his Michigan-based clients bought units in Tampa, giving him a large pool of funds to work with. The challenges are more logistical and environmental because the property was undeveloped vacant farmland.

Courtesy. Motor Enclave's car condos can be fully customized however the owner desires.

“We’ve got water issues, soil issues,” he says. “We’re bringing in utilities from miles away. The offsite utility work, by itself, would be a massive project, but we're next to an airport, we’re next to the freeway. So you’ve got many agencies that have to get involved — the approval timeline is just insanity. And the engineering behind this is quite complex — we’re talking about 16 separate buildings. Plus, Hillsborough County [government], they’re just bogged down and overwhelmed with so many other projects.”

Of course, this isn't Oleshansky’s first rodeo, and he has the patience and mental fortitude to work through the ups and downs. “I’m willing to go through the ‘brain damage’ to get it done,” he says. “One of my strengths is managing frustration.”

The pandemic has, of course, been a challenge insofar as many county officials are working from home. “COVID is definitely not an excuse,” Oleshansky says. “It’s hard to collaborate. You can’t just walk down the hall and say, ‘Hey, Bob, I know you’re looking at this this project, too. What about this?’ Everything’s being done in a vacuum, and you’ve just got to hope the dots get connected.”

 

 

The Cool Construction issue is, like it sounds, a deep dive into the more unique projects being built in the region — in what’s obviously an unusual time. Read about more of the coolest by clicking the links below:

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