Tesla to open vehicle service center in Northwest Berkeley

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Tesla Inc. will open a car maintenance and repairs facility in Berkeley, marking the company’s first efforts to expand into the city, Mayor Jesse Arreguín confirmed at a City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

The service center will be located in a nonresidential zoning region in District 1, which is represented by Councilmember and Vice Mayor Linda Maio.

Maio said she welcomes Tesla’s plans, calling it an opportunity for economic growth for the city, adding that it would be a convenience for local Tesla vehicle owners.

“People in Berkeley have Teslas,” Maio said. “Having them come would be a great thing.”

The facility will be converted from a manufacturing space formerly used by Pyramid Brewery & Alehouse at 901 Gilman St., according to an October 2017 Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board report. Neighboring businesses include Gilman Brewing Company, Whole Foods and Philz Coffee, among others.

Tesla plans to service vehicles and loan temporary vehicles to customers receiving repair service at the maintenance location, according to the zoning report. The report also says the company expects to employ approximately 33 employees.

Arreguín offhandedly mentioned Tesla’s plans during a discussion to extend a pilot program for electric car charging stations. During the meeting, City Council members also discussed an increase in city taxes toward funding projects such as affordable housing.

After the meeting, Arreguín tweeted jokingly to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The report also listed David Trachtenberg as the architect for the project. Trachtenberg confirmed his firm’s limited involvement with the building’s development in an email, adding that Tesla will be carrying out the design of the space interior.

Tesla currently operates about eight service centers across the Bay Area, with locations in Burlingame, Dublin, Fremont, Palo Alto, San Francisco, San Rafael, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

Contact Michele Meltzer at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @michele_meltzer.