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(Updated, 12:05 p.m.) Tesla is opening its first Arlington sales and service center today.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is being held this morning at the nearly 64,000 square foot space at 2710 S. Glebe Road, just east of Shirlington. Several local officials are expected to be in attendance, including state Senator Barbara Favola and County Board member Takis Karantonis.

This is Tesla’s fourth Virginia sales center. Prior to the Arlington location, the closest was in Tysons.

ARLnow reported in early March that the electric car company was charging up to open a store on S. Glebe Road near I-395. It’s the former location of a Maserati dealership and, before that, seafood seller M. Slavin & Sons.

Tesla had to first get approval from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to open this and two other stores in the Commonwealth.

Under state law, automobile manufacturers like Tesla are generally not able to sell their cars directly to customers. This law was originally passed, in part, to encourage competition. In fact, for a time, Tesla couldn’t sell cars at its Tysons mall showroom and employees were forbidden from even discussing purchases.

However, that changed last May when the state DMV commissioner approved the company’s request to open three sales centers in Virginia. The reasoning the commissioner gave is that there are no independent dealers in Arlington — or in Charlottesville and Norfolk, where the other stores are opening — that could operate a Tesla franchise “in a manner consistent with public interest,” according to the hearing decision provided to ARLnow.

The Arlington store will employ about 20 people initially with “plans to grow as needed to meet demand,” a company spokesperson said.

In addition to its sales and service location, there are more than 400 Tesla “supercharger” stations in Virginia, where drivers can get a quick recharge of their car’s batteries.

That number includes eight such stations in Arlington, according to a company map. Rosslyn, Clarendon, Ballston, Pentagon City, Crystal City, and the new Tesla store on S. Glebe Road all have at least one publicly available charging station.

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A Tesla location is opening soon along S. Glebe Road near I-395 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Tesla is in the process of building out its new Arlington location.

The electric car company is moving into the building formerly occupied by Maserati on S. Glebe Road near I-395, county permit records show.

A building permit was approved in January and calls for the building to get “improvements for ‘Tesla, Inc.’ auto sales, delivery and vehicles service as well as minor interior alterations, new equipment installation, and new furniture.”

At the moment, it’s unclear when the store will open. Repeated emails and calls to corporate headquarters in California have so far gone unanswered, perhaps on account of not having a public relations department.

When ARLnow stopped by, there were a couple of workers reviewing the electrical systems but they were unable to provide information about any opening date.

The permit confirms what’s long been thought since Maserati stalled out at 2710 S. Glebe Road more than a year ago. In September 2021, the Washington Business Journal reported on plans to transform the 63,854-square-foot space for its new tenant, though it was unclear whether a lease was finalized at that time.

The property is still owned by an LLC associated with the former Maserati of Arlington dealership, according to county property records, with the last sale happening in 2014 for $3.7 million. In 2016, the original building — which was previously a seafood store — was knocked down and a new expanded facility was erected in its place.

With construction permits approved as of about six weeks ago, it’s possible that Tesla could open this spring, given a buildout process that was “expected to be fairly quick,” according to the Business Journal.

This will be the fourth Washington area Tesla location, with others in Tysons, D.C., and Bethesda.

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Morning Notes

Tesla Dealership Coming to S. Glebe Road — ARLnow’s scoop from February is all but confirmed: “Tesla Inc. appears to be filling the high-end auto dealership void left by Maserati’s closure in South Arlington. The electric automaker will convert the former Maserati and Alfa Romeo dealership at 2710 S. Glebe Road into a 63,854-square-foot auto sales, delivery and vehicle service center, per plans obtained from Construction Journal. The work is expected to be fairly quick, starting in November and finishing up by January.” [Washington Business Journal]

Long Bridge Concert Tomorrow — “Join us, along with Arlington Parks & Recreation, Saturday, September 25 for the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center Community Celebration featuring a festive fall beer garden and live entertainment including Virginia native and HOT 99.5 Rising Artist Winner, Jerel Crockett beginning at 5 PM. The night will include a diverse lineup of some of the DMV’s hottest DJs, Farrah Flosscett and King Iven, as well as the rock/pop/funk band, Up All Night, playing all your favorite songs from the 80s, 90s, and today.” [National Landing]

Big Crash on GW Parkway — “A reader sends this photo of the earlier crash on the GW Parkway, near Key Bridge, in case anybody drives by later and wonders what happened to the wall.” [Twitter, Twitter]

The End is Near for an Old Home — “A demolition permit has been granted the owner of the 130-year-old Fellows-McGrath home at Washington Blvd. near Sycamore St. It’s disappointing to Tom Dickinson and other preservation activists who had filed an application to protect it… Manassas realtor Masum Kahn, who bought the house after eight months on the market to build modern homes, has not set a demolition schedule. Though he would consider selling ‘for the right price.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Caps Player Honored by ACFD — “Earlier this month the ACFD presented @Capitals @GarnetHathaway with a citizens award for his charity known as #HathsHeroes. This charity has given so much to local first responders and we are extremely thankful to Mr. Hathaway for his work in the community.” [Twitter]

Oddity of Arlington Transit History — “The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor is a famous example of early transit-oriented development because of the Orange Line, but the area was home to an innovative transit experiment long before Metro. From 1936 through 1939, a streetcar-bus hybrid provided service from the City of Fairfax to Rosslyn and into DC.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Arrest in Seven Corners Sex Assault Case — “Patrick Michael Chaloupka, 38, of Woodbridge has been charged with additional felonies for another sexual assault that occurred at a Falls Church hotel. Officers responded to a hotel on Aug. 26 in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard for the report of an assault that occurred three days prior.” [Fairfax County Police Department]

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Mercedes-Benz of Arlington in Ballston (via Google Maps)

Many Arlington car dealerships are struggling to stock cars amid a nationwide shortage of computer chips.

At Mercedes-Benz of Arlington in Ballston, formerly known as American Service Center, a lot once stocked with around 130 used cars available for sale has emptied out to 63 vehicles, according to Ron Moghisi, who manages pre-owned sales. He said many of the cars were purchased at nearly 30% over the normal list price.

“There’s a lot of demand, but there’s just nothing for us to buy and to resell, because the price is so high that it won’t make sense,” Moghisi said. “Let’s say you buy a bicycle for $10 that you can sell for $12. It doesn’t make sense to buy it for $16, because you’re going to get stuck with it. Some dealers are taking the risk and buying them, and God help them.”

Employees at the Koons Arlington Toyota and Brown’s Arlington Honda dealerships in Cherrydale told ARLnow they also have fewer available new and used cars to sell. At Brown’s Honda, around 50 used cars are currently available for sale, whereas 150 to 200 cars would normally be in stock, according to a pre-owned salesman. Prices at the dealership are up between 20% and 45%, in line with used car price increases nationally.

The scarcity of computer chips can be traced back to the beginning stages of the coronavirus.

When lockdowns first went into effect, car sales crashed, leading automobile companies to reduce orders for chips and other parts. Chip manufacturers, in response, cut production in order to avoid financial losses.

The strategy helped chip companies survive the pandemic. As car sales bounced back, however, automobile companies found that there weren’t enough chips for them to maintain the levels of production they wanted, as ramping up chip production can take a long time. Ford Motor Company slashed production by 50%. Meanwhile, Jeep temporarily stopped manufacturing two of its models because it didn’t have the chips needed to make them.

As the supply of cars dwindled, dealerships around the country, including those in Arlington, suffered. At the Mercedes-Benz dealership, Moghisi said that the low supply of both new and used cars has forced the dealership to hike its prices for used cars in order to maintain profitability.

“There are not many new cars around, which really means people are not trading [in] their cars, and therefore, there’s a shortage in the market for premium cars,” Moghisi said.

According to Eddy Malikov, the manager at the used-car dealership Arlington Auto Group, consumer demand is starting to decrease as a result of the rise in prices.

“I think there’s less demand now in the U.S market at least from what our business has seen. We sold around 30 cars in the first two weeks last month. This month we’ve done around 18 vehicles,” Malikov said. “I would say demand might be going down and prices and supply are going back to where they should be.”

For Moghisi, as the shortage stretches on, the stress builds for him and his employees.

“We’ve been playing the waiting game — just have to wait and see what happens. We buy whatever we can get, which is not enough,” Moghisi said. “The way this has affected the industry is, dealerships are making less money, which has put a pressure on employees. If there are no cars to sell, we can’t make a living.”

It could be a while before the automobile industry and car dealerships have fully recovered from the ongoing chip shortage. Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger told analysts last month that the chip companies may not catch up to demand for another one to two years.

“We hear different stories. We hear it’ll be fixed by November, December, then we hear by next July. We don’t know,” Moghisi said. “I don’t think we’ll have to shut down the department. Eventually, it’ll get fixed, it’s just a matter of time. The only issue is we have to dig into our savings.”

Photo via Google Maps

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After nearly seven years in South Arlington, the Maserati dealership at 2710 S. Glebe Road has closed its doors.

The dealership — located on a property that had earlier been home to seafood seller M. Slavin & Sons — is currently completely empty, with only Maserati and Alfa Romeo branding and an ironic “Now Open” sign.

The dealership began selling Fiats in 2016 and built a new, expanded facility the following year.

An employee at Maserati of Tysons (8448 Leesburg Pike) confirmed that the Arlington location closed and the Fairfax County location is now the closest Maserati dealer for Arlington residents.

The property, adjacent to I-395, may retain an automotive-related use, however. ARLnow hears that Tesla is considering leasing the building.

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A small used car dealership on Lee Highway had nine vehicles stolen from the lot overnight, the latest in a string of thefts from local dealerships.

Workers at Car World, on the 3500 block of Lee Highway, discovered the thefts this morning.

“At approximately 9:17 a.m. on January 13, police were dispatched to the 3500 block of Lee Highway for the report of a grand larceny auto,” Arlington County Police confirmed to ARLnow. “Upon arrival, it was determined that unknown suspects forced entry into a business and stole nine vehicles. Police remain on scene investigating.”

Police say they believe there’s a connection to the theft of 12 vehicles from dealerships on Lee Highway, Wilson Blvd and Columbia Pike last month.

“Detectives are investigating today’s report as series with the earlier reported car burglaries,” said police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “ACPD has conducted crime prevention outreach at car dealerships in the County to encourage business owners to secure their properties and the keys to vehicles. Detectives continue to follow-up on investigative leads in the series but to best ensure the integrity of the ongoing case, we cannot provide more specific details.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Thieves Hit Three Local Car Dealerships — A group of thieves stole a dozen cars from three car dealerships in Arlington. Some of the thefts were caught on surveillance video. In one instance, five vehicles were damaged as the thieves made their getaway. [WJLA, Arlington County]

Some Amazon Neighbors Wanted More — “Amazon.com Inc. easily won approval this weekend to start work on its first new HQ2 construction in Arlington, yet many of the company’s new neighbors remain exasperated over the benefits the community will receive… Though Amazon’s proposed investments may seem substantial, some people residing close Met Park feel that these benefits will inevitably fall short in mitigating the impacts of the construction.” [Washington Business Journal]

Spotted: Albino Squirrel — An albino squirrel was caught on video in Arlington’s Waverly Hills neighborhood. [Facebook]

Accounting Firm Touts ‘Zero-Waste’ Office in Rosslyn — “Grant Thornton LLP has consolidated its workforce in the Washington, D.C., area in the firm’s MetroDC office – its first zero-waste office in the country. The office, located at 1000 Wilson Blvd in Arlington, unites staff from other Washington-area locations and is the firm’s largest, by headcount, in the United States.” [Grant Thornton]

Nearby: Alexandria Bans Scooters from Sidewalk — The Alexandria City Council has voted to ban electronic scooters from sidewalks across the city. [ALXnow]

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Every car owner has a horror story about hours wasted at a dealership or car wash only to be left disappointed, stressed and frustrated.

Getting your car cleaned or serviced can be inconvenient and time consuming. “When you work in Arlington and your dealership is in Rockville that check engine light is going to cost you a whole day,” says Carvoodoo founder Pierce Boisclair. “Similarly, If you work demanding hours and car washes are open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. you’re forced to go on the weekends when they’re slammed. There needed to be better way to make car maintenance and cleaning more convenient for customers. So, we created one.”

Carvoodoo provides vehicle cleaning and maintenance delivered at the click of a button. It is a convenient, transparent and friendly vehicle concierge service that deals with the hassles of car ownership, so you don’t have to. Carvoodoo’s mission is to make sure you never have to visit a car wash, dealership or service station again.

To use the service, customers login into their personalized account at carvoodoo.com, choose the service they want and a pick-up time and location. Carvoodoo handles the rest.

Their crew members make the appointments, pick up the vehicle, take it to be serviced, check the work and keep you updated on your vehicle’s status. When the work is complete, a crew member returns it to the location of your choosing. All you have to do is hand over and collect the keys. It’s that simple. They also provide subscription services for customers who want routine cleaning and maintenance.

Book now and get 15% off your first order with promo code ARLNOW15

Morning Notes

More Stuff Coming to Ballston — Even more hip food-and-drink spots are on the way for Ballston. A 3,000 square foot Union Kitchen Grocery store is coming to the ground floor of the revamped Ballston Quarter mall, at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, while a Compass Coffee cafe will also be opening in the mall. [Washington Business Journal]

Wheels Stolen Off the Lot at Dealership — Someone stole tires from three vehicles parked in the lot of a car dealership on Lee Highway just after midnight Wednesday. “An unknown suspect(s) removed the tires from and tampered with multiple vehicles in the parking lot of a business,” police said in a crime report. There is no suspect description and no surveillance footage, we’re told. There is a Toyota dealership on the 4000 block of Lee Highway, where police said the crime occurred, but also a Honda dealership nearby. [Arlington County]

Garvey Confident About Amazon — Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey is optimistic about Amazon coming to the area. “I think Amazon is very likely coming here,” she said at a Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce conference, shortly after it was announced that Northern Virginia, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland were among the top 20 finalists for Amazon’s HQ2. “We have got everything here.” [Washington Business Journal]

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The Maserati and Fiat dealership on S. Glebe Road near I-395 is expanding.

The dealership at 2710 S. Glebe Road is being knocked down and rebuilt on the same plot of land. When an ARLnow reporter stopped by, much of the building had been demolished, except what used to be the front entrance. The building that housed the dealership used to be a seafood store.

Permitting applications filed with the county show a new one-story sales room will be built, as well as a four-story building for service and vehicle storage.

“The lot wasn’t being used to its fullest potential, so we’re expanding and adding space,” said Ethan Anderson, a spokesman for the company.

The dealership will stay open throughout the work, with employees’ offices housed in a temporary trailer nearby.

Anderson estimates the construction could take about a year to complete.

“It’s quite a project,” he said.

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Police car lightsA disagreement between a used car dealership employee and a customer turned heated last week.

The incident happened Saturday afternoon at a used car lot on Lee Highway, near Lyon Village.

Police say the customer eventually pulled a knife on the employee and “stole the keys to the vehicles on the lot.”

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ROBBERY, 161015016, 2500 block of N. Lee Highway. At approximately 12:19 p.m. on October 15, officers responded to the report of male subject arguing with an employee over the sale of a vehicle. Upon investigation, it was determined that a male subject entered a business and following the verbal altercation, stole the keys to the vehicles on the lot. An employee confronted the subject and the subject pulled out a knife and charged at the employee. The employee was not injured and subject then fled the scene. Warrants were obtained for robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

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