Two new luxury car dealerships are expected to change the landscape of Southwest Cascade Avenue in Tigard, as BMW and Tesla dealerships make preparations to build or remodel facilities along the roadway.
Interest in that part of town has been high over the last few years. Just last summer, Tigard amended its municipal code to allow car dealerships in the area.
That was all part of revamping the Washington Square Regional Center plan, which will allow for a variety of unique development not only in the Washington Square mall area but throughout portions of the planning area's expansive 827 acres of land. The so-called regional center includes portions of Tigard, Beaverton and unincorporated Washington County.
"Both BMW and Tesla have received land us approval and are now going through the public improvements and building permitting processes," said Agnes Lindor, a Tigard associate planner.
Over the last several weeks, work crews demolished the former Orchard Hardware store in preparation for a new car dealership, Holman BMW. Plans are to not only build a new building on the site of the onetime hardware store, but also to add a separate car wash.
In 2018, Orchard Hardware shut its doors in Tigard — closing other local stores as well — after the owner of the stores, Lowe's Cos Inc., announced plans to focus more on its home improvement business.
Meanwhile, directly next door and to the south of the BMW dealership, Tesla will soon open a dealership for its high-end electric cars. "Tesla will utilize the existing building and is also proposing a new building, approximately 4,750 square feet in size," Lindor said.
Some members of the Tigard City Council have raised concerns about large car lots along Cascade Avenue being eyesores. The stretch of road is visible from Oregon Highway 217, which runs between Cascade Avenue and Washington Square mall.
But last year, planners met with the City Council and assured them that Tigard would set higher design standards for properties like car dealerships. The amended municipal code requires that dealerships or property west of Highway 217 must not only comply with general development standards but "must contain all sales and rental inventory, materials and equipment, and vehicle service areas inside a building such that inventory and service areas are not visible from Cascade Avenue."
The general push by car dealerships to locate on both sides of Highway 217 in the Washington Square area has been ongoing over the last several years.
About two years ago, Jaguar/Land Rover opened a dealership in a portion of Washington Square's parking lot near where a TGI Friday's restaurant once stood. And as far back as 2013, Malibu Raceway announced plans it was closing shop to make way for CarMax, a used-car retailer. That dealership is also located on Cascade Avenue, but on the north side of Scholls Ferry Road.
Lindor said for the present moment, the BMW and Tesla dealers are the only new dealerships that have approached City Hall with interest in locating in Tigard.
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