Santa Ana Pueblo Leaders and Sen. Martin Heinrich Friday announced that Tesla is building a dealership on Pueblo land in partnership with Tamaya Ventures, a Santa Ana Pueblo-owned company.

The site is west of Santa Ana Star Casino near the intersection of NM 550 and NM 528. That’s a couple minutes from the RR/Bernalillo line.

Construction has already begun and is set to finish in March of 2023.

“This is an exciting start to the next frontier of tribal economic creation, diversification and competitiveness,” said Joey Sanchez, governor of the Pueblo of Santa Ana.

Tesla is currently banned from selling vehicles in New Mexico’s, which still has laws prohibiting direct sales of electric vehicles to the public without going through third-party dealerships.

That’s why Tesla wanted to build on Pueblo land, where those laws do not apply. They have already done this with Nambe Pueblo in Santa Fe.

But it is still good news for New Mexico and Santa Ana leaders.

Heinrich disagrees with the law, but he said that he appreciates the partnership on Pueblo land.

“I believe that law needs to change. It is really antiquated,” he said.

Heinrich also addressed the alleged fraud claims about the Tesla company and founder Elon Musk.

“I have driven a Tesla Model 3 for three years. I am really positive in companies like Tesla which are trying to invest in this transition to EV,” he said.

Heinrich has always been an electric car lover  In college, he was part of an engineering team which built a solar-powered carbon fiber car.

Pueblo leaders spoke about the possibilities the new business would bring to the area.

“This partnership brings opportunities for economic impact and opportunities to create careers not just jobs,” Sanchez said.