TAMPA — Living in Michigan at the time, Brad Oleshansky hatched a simple initial plan: purchase a few acres of land and build spaces that can be turned into “mancaves” with garages for car aficionados.
Think of the units as “car condos,” Oleshansky said. “I wanted to build a community where car people could hang out.”
His development needed 7 acres. He found a suitable site in Pontiac, Michigan, with 87 acres.
“We wondered what we would do with the other 80,” Oleshansky said. “We built a track. People thought I was either crazy or stupid. I might be crazy.”
The M1 Concourse opened in 2016, offering a private 1.5-mile track for the 250 unit owners to drive their sport or racing cars.
It was so successful, Oleshansky said, that he decided to build a second such development.
That one opens in March at 6499 N Falkenburg Road in Tampa.
Called The Motor Enclave, the 200-acre site, which cost $150 million to complete, will offer a 1.6-mile, 32-foot-wide winding paved track where cars can drive as fast as 168 miles per hour on straightaways, four off-road courses spanning 100 acres, a 37,000-square-foot events center and 240 units that owners can build out however they desire.
“Our site plan was for 280 units,” said Chas Ostezan, vice president of Motor Enclave. “But we’ve had multiple owners buy and combine units, bringing us to 240. We thought it would take four years to sell out. We have eight that remain.”
The first 100 units will be ready when the track opens. All will be finished by the third quarter of 2023.
“But all the owners can start driving when we open,” Ostezan said.
The off-road tracks were designed internally and can be driven by “anything that’s caged,” Ostezan said. “Side-by-sides, rally cars, Jeeps, Broncos. No ATVs.”
The paved course was designed by Hermann Tilke, a German engineer who is responsible for nearly two dozen Formula One tracks around the world.
“It can handle every car that you think is track-appropriate,” Ostezan said. “All exotics, but also Ford, Mustang, Camaro, Corvette, Ferrari, Lamborghini, you name it.”
The Motor Enclave will also have a fleet of cars available to unit owners’ guests and those who rent the track for corporate events.
All drivers must follow the main rule.
“There is no racing,” Ostezan said. “It’s all about safety. This is not a racetrack. It’s an enthusiast circuit. You can come out here and drive safely instead of cruising on I-75 in your McLaren.”
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Drivers must first be evaluated before they are allowed on the tracks. Lessons are required for those deemed not ready.
Sessions are booked by skill level, experience and type of car.
“If you have a Ferrari, you’re not going out with an open-wheel car,” Ostezan said. “A Corvette is not going out with a Miata.”
There will never be more than 15 cars on the paved track.
The maximum number of drivers for the off-road tracks depends on the “specific experiences,” Ostezan said.
Passing is only allowed in specific areas and by drivers vetted as safe to do so.
“We have an indoor classroom setting,” Ostezan said. “That’s where we can talk it out before we go out and drive.”
The tracks are open from dawn until dusk, but the units are available to the owners 24/7.
Units range from 657 square feet to 14,000 square feet.
Each is purchased as an “elevated empty white box with 24-foot-high ceilings,” Ostezan said, so square footage can be doubled or tripled during buildout by adding a second or a third floor, as most owners will do.
The owners must handle and pay for the buildout.
“That way, they can design it based on how they are going to use the space,” Ostezan said. “They can totally customize it to their use.”
The first floor will typically be a garage and the second and third will be a mancave that can include office space, a bar or den.
“You can’t live here, it’s not residential,” Ostezan said. “With our zoning, no one is allowed to spend 30 consecutive nights at a time in this space. But they can have a bed in their space if they want. At the very least, we expect most to have a Murphy bed.”
The remaining units range in price from $368,000 to nearly $2 million, and the average buildout cost has been $400,000, Oleshansky said.
The priciest come with a balcony that overlooks the paved track.
But not every unit owner is considered rich, Oleshansky said. “People think we need to get crazy people who have a lot of money, but that’s not true.”
Some units have multiple friends who went in as owners and might not yet have a car for the track.
“We have some collectors who will put their collection in the garage,” Ostezan said. “But a noticeable percentage are just now looking to buy a track car because they previously had nowhere to keep or drive it.”
“I had no connection to Tampa before this,” Oleshansky said. “A computer chose Tampa for me.”
Added Ostezan: “We needed certain ingredients for our recipe.” Those included a city’s weather, expected growth and registrations of “classic muscle cars.”
Based on those components, a computer program listed Tampa as the 11th best market for The Motor Enclave, but the available 200 acres neighboring the Tampa Executive Airport and a 15-minute drive to downtown enabled the city to jump to the top of the list.
“Out of all our owners, 80% are from the area,” Ostezan said. “Our due diligence proved this is a market with a deep interest in motor sports. We’re not surprised it’s going so well already, but we’re happy to be here.”