Tesla to convert a former Chatsworth movie theater into EV showroom

Plans call for turning the Winnetka Pacific Theaters into a delivery hub

Tesla to Convert Former Chatsworth Movie House into Showroom
Elon Musk and a rendering and view of 9201 North Winnetka Avenue in Los Angeles L.A. City Planning Department, Google Maps, Getty)

Tesla has hit the go-pedal on plans to turn the defunct Winnetka Pacific Theatres in Chatsworth into a showroom and pick-up spot for its electric cars. 

The Austin, Texas-based electric vehicle maker led by Elon Musk pitched its latest plan before the L.A. Planning Commission to redevelop the 118,800-square-foot multiplex into a car showroom and delivery hub at 9201 North Winnetka Avenue, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

The Winnetka Pacific, built atop a former drive-in, closed in 2020 as the pandemic caused theaters to close their doors nationwide. The theater then filed for bankruptcy protection.

Decurion, the Los Angeles-based firm that owned the 25-acre multiplex site, filed plans in July last year to convert the once popular multiplex into a 111,000-square-foot Tesla dealership and service center. Terms of a lease with Tesla were not disclosed.

In late 2021, the firm had filed an application for a three-building, 274,000-square-foot industrial complex at Winnetka and Prairie Street, which was later scrapped.

The latest plan calls for a Tesla delivery hub with a sales showroom, service lounge and area for  pre-delivery inspection.

Some 900 of the theater’s 1,242 parking spaces would be repurposed for Tesla car storage, with 249 more slots for use by employees, customers and visitors. 

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Tesla would cut down seven trees to make way for trucks loaded with new Tesla cars. A former movie theater ticket kiosk would be demolished and four more trees removed to allow for car access to the facility.

“Tesla’s goal was to reuse as much of the existing architecture and simplify the facade,” Diana Tran, a Tesla representative, told commissioners, adding that the longtime giant crown atop the Pacific Theatre building will be moved to create “a clean and simple design with the basic colors.”

The new EV showroom would feature two outstretched wings on either side of a Tesla sign, according to a monochromatic rendering.

The showroom plan is slated to go before the Los Angeles City Planning Commission in September. If approved, it would proceed to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee of the Los Angeles City Council, then to the full City Council for potential approval.

“We hope to be approved by the end of the year, which will allow us to bring our timeline into the later part of 2025 to finish construction of interior improvements,” Heather Waldstein, a planning associate with Rosenheim & Associates, said during the Planning Commission meeting.

As of last year, Tesla had more than a dozen showrooms across Greater Los Angeles, including Century City, Long Beach and Westchester. In the San Fernando Valley, the firm operates dealers in Van Nuys, Canoga Park and Agoura Hills. 

— Dana Bartholomew

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