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Tesla leaves Menlo Park behind this summer

Original post made on Apr 30, 2013

Tesla Motors is preparing to leave Menlo Park in the rear-view mirror. The electric car retailer recently opened a renovated showroom on San Jose's Santana Row, and also got permission to open a second in Burlingame.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 9:07 AM

Comments (41)

Posted by Enough, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 30, 2013 at 1:01 pm

This makes me so sad. In my perfect world, that entire strip of land owned by Stanford would have become the flagship Tesla dealership - nothing but Teslas from Big 5 all the way south to the Stanford Park Hotel. Losing the Tesla dealership is sad enough, but the future of that strip of land is even sadder. I will miss you Tesla! I will miss those beautiful cars cruising through my neighborhood on a test-drive. I will miss driving by your dealership and thinking "someday I will own a Tesla..."


Posted by what is city doing?, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 30, 2013 at 10:58 pm

What if anything did the city's business development person do to try to keep Tesla here? What a loss! And Stanford just wants to put offices and traffic instead. We need housing and we need revenue.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2013 at 7:10 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Tesla's Menlo Park site does not generate any sales tax revenue - it is a display point, not a point of sale.


Posted by Does Tesla pay sales tax in MP?, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 1, 2013 at 10:43 am

Peter, you may want to check with the City of Menlo Park. See page 8 of the handout here: Web Link


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Under the Tesla model no sales occur at their Menlo Park facility - it is a display room only.

Sales tax on Tesla cars is paid to the City of Menlo Park ONLY when a car is delivered to a MP resident at their residence in Menlo Park. Sales tax on Tesla cars is not paid to the City of Menlo Park when MP residents pick their cars up at the factory in Fremont - that sales tax goes to Fremont.


Posted by S Tyler, a resident of another community
on May 1, 2013 at 11:39 am

Peter Carpenter is correct. Tesla is pursuing a different business model in selling their cars without traditional dealerships. They now sell directly to customers. For those who want to know more, check out an article from the Wall Street Journal dated April 11, 2013. (I'm not tech savvy enough to post a link.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is the above referenced WSJ link:

Web Link


Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Please note the story does not say 'sales tax' generators.

According to an interview with former finance director Carol Augustine as well as the data in the city's financial reports, which someone linked to above, Tesla has been one of the city's top sales and use tax generators.

Sandy


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on May 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm

At $110K a copy for the sporty car and I believe something in the $70K+ range for the sedan, of course having Tesla in MP would put them among the top producers of sales tax in MP, regardless of whether or not all cars sold accrued benefit to MP. Also, to the point behind the previously asked question as to what the City's business development person did to try to keep Tesla--two comments; First, upon the departure of Dave Johnson the former Director of Bus. Dev.(whom attracted Tesla to MP), the City opted not to replace him. Those duties were assigned to Ms. Bramwell to try to handle with her left hand while doing her full time day job. Personal opinion: she could not have done anything anyway, hence my second point. Tesla was renting the space from Stanford. Menlo Park finally rezoned the Stanford land such that Stanford could make long term plans for profitable development, which it has. I doubt Tesla had any choice with regard to renewing its lease. My ultimate point, MP must begin to embrace new business and the requisite development that goes with it, or, eventually, the only thing that will be being generated along ECR will be weeds.


Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm

The city did replace Dave Johnson with a new business development manager
:
Web Link


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on May 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Thank you Sandy, I had missed that announcement.


Posted by Oops, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 1, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Don't expect any apologies from our know-it-all neighbor, but maybe he'll have the good grace to be a little slower to tell us Menlo Park residents how stupid we are.


Posted by LocalMP, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on May 2, 2013 at 4:55 am

WHO is exactly right. This is really not about the economics of the Tesla location. Visually, it was one of the few bright spots along ECR. Nicely done showroom with a clean, well-lit flair. It is an asset to that strip that will now sit empty. Today, it reflects positively on Menlo and might encourage business owners to at least consider our town. The empty showroom just adds to the blight. The real "business development managers" are City Council members as they can get us going on a path of smart development. Dominoes are falling in the wrong direction.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 2, 2013 at 8:04 am

Local:

dominoes are falling in the wrong direction because the council is listening to a small, loud group of NIMBY's.


Posted by Oops, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 2, 2013 at 8:59 am

No need to attack the residents who care about our city. Most people who are concerned about our city's fiscal health and our collective quality of life would love retail in that strip. Throughout the visioning process, that was clear. And our city needs revenue-generating uses, not a tax-exempt project.


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on May 2, 2013 at 8:59 am

@Oops-I apologize for having missed the announcement that MP had, indeed, decided to replace the BD Directors position. Also, I have NEVER indicated in this forum that I think the residents of Menlo Park are stupid; quite the contrary, but some times even the smartest among us can be short sighted or just plain wrong. Really smart people are willing to realize that fact.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 2, 2013 at 9:51 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"And our city needs revenue-generating uses, not a tax-exempt project."

If the Stanford project does not proceed then all MP will have in ECR-SE is a non-revenue generating non-use - or perhaps Stanford will lease the existing buildings to tax exempt organizations.

As for stupid - what makes you feel that someone thinks you are stupid?


Posted by john, a resident of Woodside: other
on May 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm

No need for finger pointing and hand wringing. Tesla company presumably did what they thought was optimal for their company. if they thought that site was in their long term best interest, presumably they would have fought tooth and nail for it.


Posted by Joe, a resident of another community
on May 2, 2013 at 8:50 pm

"If the Stanford project does not proceed then all MP will have in ECR-SE is a non-revenue generating non-use - or perhaps Stanford will lease the existing buildings to tax exempt organizations."

Well that's half the story.

The City needs revenue and that need has to balance against the traffic generated by development.

An empty lot that doesn't produce revenue doesn't create traffic.

Development that generates traffic but little revenue is a negative impact to MP.

I think you know that is the case.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 2, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The City needs revenue and that need has to balance against the traffic generated by development."

THAT was the objective of the Specific Plan and the Stanford project CONFORMS with the Specific Plan - so what is your next point?


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 2, 2013 at 11:38 pm

"THAT was the objective of the Specific Plan and the Stanford project CONFORMS with the Specific Plan - so what is your next point?"

The Specific Plan is flawed, Peter, something most of us readily admit, so what is your next point?

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2013 at 7:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern has a personal opinion, driven by his own narrow self interest, that the Specific Plan is 'flawed' - an opinion which is shared only by a small number of other self interested people.

We await details on the plan's alleged flaws - other than "I don't like it"


Posted by Joe, a resident of another community
on May 3, 2013 at 7:41 am

"THAT was the objective of the Specific Plan and the Stanford project CONFORMS with the Specific Plan - so what is your next point?"

Sorry to interrupt your schadenfreude.

I was trying to help you recognize where your comments were falling short.

We know that traffic is a negative impact and development that produces traffic and not revenue burdens the city residents.

If the Specific Plan falls short of specifying this need, it apparently does, then the City should amend it.

I'd like to see MP develop an interesting downtown area that is walkable, bike friendly and accessible via Caltrain. I'd visit more often.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 3, 2013 at 8:09 am

"We await details on the plan's alleged flaws - other than "I don't like it""

Peter has a personal opinion, driven largely by his ego, that the Specific Plan is the immutable will and law of the residents of Menlo Park, an opinion shared by 3 or 4 anonymous posters in this forum.

We've been through this a dozen times, Peter, but one of the chief complaints echoed in many Town Forum threads, in numerous emails to the City Council and Planning Commission, and in many public meetings (one of which you attended), is the 200+% FAR increase gifted to Stanford's 500 ECR properties as part of the Specific Plan, with nominal or no public benefit required of the university in return. If you don't believe this to be a flaw in the Specific Plan you are certainly entitled to your *opinion*, one no more or less valid than my own.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2013 at 8:18 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern - What you call a flaw all the appointed and elected officials unanimously voted to accept - that is not my opinion, that is the public record,

What you call a flaw was in the Final Specific Plan issued for comments on 19 April debated in the 29 April Planning Commission meeting and the 5 June Council meetings - all with ample opportunity for public comments. The Specific Plan was unanimously approved by both the Planning Commission and the Council with the FARs unchanged.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 3, 2013 at 9:12 am

"Gern - What you call a flaw all the appointed and elected officials unanimously voted to accept - that is not my opinion, that is the public record,"

Fact: The City Council voted unanimously at the April 16 meeting (which you and I attended) to form a subcommittee to explore options with the 500 ECR East properties, including the possibility of removing those parcels from the Specific Plan. Part of the public record as well, Peter.

Opinion: The subcommittee wasn't created in response to a unanimous outpouring of support from the community for the Stanford project, but that must be how Peter views events.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2013 at 10:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gern states:"to form a subcommittee to explore options with the 500 ECR East properties, including the possibility of removing those parcels from the Specific Plan."

Clearly Gern continues to have problems dealing with the truth - here is what was reported about the subcommittee's role:

'The subcommittee's goals include facilitating discussion between the city, residents and Stanford University that could lead to compromises that bring the project more in line with what the community wants. It will also help city staff expand a traffic analysis to look at potential cut-through traffic along Middle Avenue and into the Allied Arts neighborhood."

Nothing in the subcommittee's role about "removing those parcels from the Specific Plan".

Gern constantly tries to revise the facts to support his position but the public record always proves him wrong.


Posted by No Easy Solutions, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 3, 2013 at 10:55 am

Back on topic regrading Tesla, wished MP would have done a better job of keeping Tesla in town. Considering Telsa is in the top 25 of all MP tax generators without having a point of sale in town is pretty darn good. Better than hundreds of other businesses in town.

FYI, when I purchased my most recent car from a dealership in Fremont, I asked to pay the sales tax for Menlo Park and the dealership complied on the invoice. I did most of the negotiation over the Internet and just went there to pick up and sign the paper. Not sure if the actual tax went to MP and San Mateo county. Can someone with tax knowledge about this weigh in?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2013 at 11:04 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Goal I-E-3 - "The Specific Plan allows for auto dealerships along El Camino Real."

But does any dealer want to be located on ECR and, if so, would they be a display point or a point of sale - that makes a big difference in the revenue that a dealership would generate.
And note that a successful dealership would generate lots of new traffic.


Posted by Oops, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 3, 2013 at 11:19 am

I've been in town long enough to remember when the dealerships were thriving. The traffic they generated was significant, but nowhere approaching the level of medical offices. The dealers only wished they had a new flock of customers arriving every 15 minutes! Too, the traffic was on weekends, not weekdays. Most retail, eg the Stanford mall, gets most of its traffic on the weekends. Perfect complement to office and school traffic.

Peter, if the subcommittee cannot reach a compromise, then the next step will be to consider removing Stanford from the plan. That's what the council said! The council is taking this process in measured steps, but it's almost inevitable that Stanford will be removed, and the plan amended to state that projects over a certain size must be individually reviewed. That's the only solution that makes sense.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2013 at 11:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"if the subcommittee cannot reach a compromise, then the next step will be to consider removing Stanford from the plan. That's what the council said"

Wrong - one councilperson's statement does NOT constitute a position by the entire council.
"Councilman Rich Cline said that should the subcommittee's efforts prove futile, he didn't mind looking at removing Stanford's parcels from the specific plan boundaries."

"but it's almost inevitable that Stanford will be removed,"

I doubt that this will happen. And I am sure that the council knows that if it even starts down this road that Stanford will simply withdraw from Menlo Park and leave the current structures in place for a very long time - generating zero revenue and no new housing for the city.

I would ask posters to please provide documentation for their repeatedly false claims like " That's what the council said" and ""to form a subcommittee to explore options with the 500 ECR East properties, including the possibility of removing those parcels from the Specific Plan." These falsehoods are a distraction from the Forum being a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion.


Posted by Oops, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 3, 2013 at 11:40 am

"Stanford will simply withdraw from Menlo Park and leave the current structures in place for a very long time - generating zero revenue and no new housing for the city."

I would ask this poster to provide documentation for this false claim. It's a distraction from the forum, and sounds more like a scare tactic than a valid argument. Anyone who knows anything about Stanford understands that the institution wants to maximize its revenues, and it will not leave this property vacant unless it can make money from doing so!


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2013 at 11:48 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""Stanford will simply withdraw from Menlo Park and leave the current structures in place for a very long time - generating zero revenue and no new housing for the city.""

This comment is based on my personal conversations with Stanford officials whose opinions I respect. Other posters have verified this position based on their conversations with other Stanford officials. Stanford has no interest in a suboptimal investment in Menlo Park and will instead invest its resources elsewhere.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on May 3, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I remember when you could drive from Redwood City down to Sunnyvale with the expect of Atherton and find car dealers. Up and down El Camino Real, we use to drive up to MP, look at cars and see a movie.

Just hope the project will have businesses that will produce income for the City of Menlo Park.


Posted by Oops, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 3, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Personal conversations with Stanford? Interesting.

According to planning commissioners, council members, and others who have talked to Stanford, they will build whatever the zoning allows. They have no interest in letting that land remain unused. And if they di, then the city will simply have to impose a vacancy tax to recoup its losses.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"According to planning commissioners, council members, and others who have talked to Stanford, they will build whatever the zoning allows."


vs

"Stanford will simply withdraw from Menlo Park and leave the current structures in place for a very long time - generating zero revenue and no new housing for the city."

Only time will tell who is right and then only if the city is dumb enough to take ECR-SE out of the Specific Plan.



Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

BTW, I agree that Stanford will build whatever the CURRENT zoning allows, I do not believe that they will build anything if their property is down zoned.


Posted by Gern, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 3, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Peter's tired Town Forum refrain: "I would ask this poster to provide documentation for this false claim."

Peter's very next post: "This comment is based on my personal conversations with Stanford officials whose opinions I respect. Other posters have verified this position based on their conversations with other Stanford officials."

So unnamed Stanford officials and unknown "other posters" in this forum qualify as documentation for Peter's position, it would seem. Double standard, delusion, deceit, or mere hypocrisy -- which is it, Peter? Your deliberate misstatements about Stanford's intentions will remain a silly feint until you document your sources, something you so steadfastly require of others.

Gern


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 4, 2013 at 7:32 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

When posting 'facts' about an event that has happened documentation is essential:
examples where the documentation is still missing:
"if the subcommittee cannot reach a compromise, then the next step will be to consider removing Stanford from the plan. That's what the council SAID"

"to form a subcommittee to explore options with the 500 ECR East properties, INCLUDING the possibility of removing those parcels from the Specific Plan."

When providing a personal opinion concerning PAST events then documented facts are helpful to support the opinion but in the absence of such facts source credibility of the poster is important. For example, opinions by a poster who has been repeatedly shown to be lying about the facts are seldom worth considering.

When providing a personal opinion concerning FUTURE events then documenting the facts is usually impossible since the events in question have not yet taken place. In this case consensus among a number of well informed posters can be useful in deciding what might occur. It is also helpful if the posters can indicate any information upon which he based his opinion recognizing that the poster may not be able to disclose sources of information provide in confidence.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on May 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Having property zoned and then half way thought planning, change zoning. This is why California doesn't attract the businesses it should.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm

"Having property zoned and then half way thought planning, change zoning. This is why California doesn't attract the businesses it should. "

Not sure that applies to the state as a whole, but Menlo park? Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!


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