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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 25, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Tesla closing Seattle showroom, moving to Bellevue

Tesla Motors is going to close its Seattle showroom and open another at Bellevue Square

The Seattle store opened in 2009 in South Lake Union, a block from the new Amazon.com headquarters campus.

Tesla was drawn here largely because it found so many customers among the area’s wealthy tech workers.

At the time it was the fourth store to open for the Silicon Valley carmaker, and the manager described the booming, tech-oriented neighborhood as “a perfect fit for our company.”

But the company has shifted its retail strategy and is now focusing on high-traffic areas.

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The new showroom will open Nov. 5 in Bellevue Square, which draws more foot traffic. The store will open with a prototype of its upcoming Model S sedan.

Tesla will continue to operate its service facility in South Lake Union, where it shares a restored brick building (shown) with a restaurant and faces the South Lake Union trolley line on Westlake Avenue.

Bellevue Square isn’t the first place you’d think of for environmentally friendly transportation and its owner has been a leading opponent of regional mass transit projects.

But in March the shopping center added 15 charging stations for electrical vehicles to its parking garage, which may have helped land Tesla as a new tenant.

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