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2023 Top Entrepreneur: Brad Oleshansky, founder, CEO and developer of The Motor Enclave in Tampa

Brad Oleshansky left the corporate world to pursue a business in his lifelong passion: cars.


  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 1:30 p.m. May 4, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Brad Oleshansky estimates The Motor Enclave will reach $100 million in revenue this year.
Brad Oleshansky estimates The Motor Enclave will reach $100 million in revenue this year.
Photo by Mark Wemple
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Brad Oleshansky has come a long way. But, on the other hand, he really hasn’t.

Sure, he was an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles for 10 years and then a digital marketing executive in the health care industry for a few more years. But his passion as an adult was the same passion he had as a kid. Cars.

And that passion, born from watching his dad build cars in the family garage, is helping drive a massive project in Tampa.

Oleshansky, 52, is the developer behind The Motor Enclave, a $150 million, 200-acre facility on Falkenburg Road. Motor Enclave includes more than 300 private garages, a 1.6-mile performance track, 100-acre off road track and a more than 37,000-square-foot corporate event center.

A second location, in Nashville, is in the early stages of development and there are plans for other Motor Enclaves nationwide.

The Tampa location is open, and the company will hold a grand opening in September when the event center is complete.

While some people refer to the facility as car condos and a racetrack, Oleshansky balks at those terms. They are too simplistic and inaccurately capture the scale of what he’s doing. He says there are “lots of components, with garages and a track and off-road course and event space and etc, etc.” Plus, not all the garages will be used to store vehicles and no racing will be done on the track.

The term he prefers to use is motorsports enthusiast venue.

Whatever the verbiage, Oleshansky says building the facility combines his two loves.

“My work is my hobby,” he says. “I get to be around cars and car enthusiasts and car fanatics all day. I don't enjoy it as much as those people do. I'm still running a business, but I get to be around it.”


Revenue 

Oleshansky estimates The Motor Enclave will reach $100 million in revenue this year.

But as the old saying goes, it took a few years to become an overnight success.

Oleshansky says the facility was in development for some time before there was a product to sell. When the pre-sales began last year, customers were signing contracts for garages, memberships and other services, but those contracts weren’t realized until this year.


Up-at-night worry 

If there is one thing that really worries Oleshansky, especially in the middle of the night, it is the complexity of it all.

He says there’s “a million moving parts” involved in a project of this magnitude. When tossing and turning, his mind drifts to keeping all those parts aligned in order to make sure the spending remains under control and that the project is delivered on time — all “with lots of forces working against you.”

The biggest force, he says, is dealing with local government.

Oleshansky says 80% of the challenges he faces comes from government bureaucracies charged with approvals and permitting. He says the amount of government involvement is one of the reasons developers don’t take on challenging projects like his. If one isn’t willing to deal with “years of just nonsense,” one would lose their mind, he says.


Biggest mistake

Oleshansky says the toughest thing for him has been to let go.

As a person who likes to get things done, he’s had a tough time delegating. While he is good at building teams, he says “I still do too many things I shouldn’t be doing.”

What he dislikes is giving orders, explaining what he wants three times and then feeling as if he has to redo it himself. That’s not a good philosophy, Oleshansky admits because managing people means “they should be able to do it and take a lot off your plate.”

“I'm a control freak, and the quality level that I demand and execute on, it’s hard for people to have the same perspective,” he says. “So, if you delegate it and they don't have the experience or same kind of approach, oftentimes it takes more rework than the work initially.”


Best advice

Like a lot of entrepreneurs who ventured out and started their own businesses when they were a little older, Oleshansky recommends those with ideas strike out on their own when they are younger.

It’s easier when you are in your 20s and don’t have a lot of responsibility holding you back, he says. This is a time when it’s simpler to take risks and failing, while never easy, doesn’t have as much of a financial and family impact. Once you are married, have kids and taken on a mortgage, the consequences are greater and it is more difficult to take the risk.

If you fail when you are young, he says, you are still living in apartment and it’s not like you’ve got a lot of people going to also be impacted.

Oleshansky adds a few moments later that he regrets waiting so long. “I wish I didn’t have fear and I wish I wouldn’t have gotten in a lifestyle that made it comfortable to work for somebody else.”


Tipping point

“It was experience, knowing that I was killing myself for other people over and over and over and they were getting the lion's share of the financial reward and recognition,” Oleshansky says of why he decided to leave the corporate world.

At that point in his life, he’d spent the better part of his career working for others in the health care field and as an entertainment lawyer. But while he liked the work, those fields, they weren’t his passion.

Cars were.

Oleshansky grew up watching his dad build cars in the family’s Bloomfield Hills, Michigan garage and over the years learned others were every bit as passionate as he was.

So, with the urging of several friends, he decided to leave the safety of the corporate world and go out on his own.  In 2011, he launched M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan, about 30 miles outside Detroit. He left Michigan in 2019 to focus on The Motor Enclave.

“I realized that people will do anything to support their passion, those are good businesses,” Oleshansky says. “One of the biggest challenges in businesses is competitors and pricing and everyone wanting a deal. Well, when you are talking about someone's hobby or passion, they're willing to spend whatever it takes to enjoy it at whatever level they want to enjoy it.”

 

author

Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the deputy managing editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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