Superior approves plans for Tesla dealership, marking company's latest foray into Colorado
Shop likely to open next spring, company says
By Anthony Hahn
Boulder Daily Camera
Posted:Tue Apr 10 01:13:55 MDT 2018
Superior's Board of Trustees early Tuesday morning approved plans to install a Tesla sales and service center at the northwest corner of the town's 157-acre development complex, "Downtown Superior." It is only the second Tesla location of its kind in Colorado; the other sales and service center exists in Littleton, while showrooms are located in Aspen, Cherry Creek and Lone Tree-Park Meadows.
The Superior shop will likely open next spring, company officials say.
The decision — approval of a final development plan and replat of the parcel — all but cements the electric-car giant's return to Boulder County seven years after relocating its Pearl Street showroom to Denver.
Both measures were approved 5-2, with the replat proposal sanctioned on the condition that Tesla looks into sharing the shop's large parking lot with the community during its off hours. Trustees Rita Dozal and Sandie Hammerly offered the two "no" votes.
The approval came after concerns from the town's Planning Commission threatened to derail the project last month. The commission approved the plans only after airing some trepidation about the shop's dominating presence at the front of the long-heralded town center project.
Planning Commissioner Jerry Malia on Monday returned to denounce the project only weeks after signaling approval for it. He cited a purchase and sale agreement that was signed with the applicant last fall as a signal that the board had already made its decision on the matter.
"My presence here tonight is not lend support to this project as I had done before," he said. "Nothing about this says, 'Welcome to Downtown Superior.'"
Worries over the project's seemingly monolithic "warehouse-like" architecture along the town's main drag, the site's 170 parking spaces as well as long-term plans for the high-profile corner were echoed by some of the trustees and residents during a marathon public hearing on Monday evening.
"I'm a big proponent of growth and the economic viability of our town," resident Debbie Yates said Monday. "What happened to the process with this (proposal)? This negotiation was conducted behind closed-door sessions."
The roughly 2.4-acre, 22,000-square-foot building, proposed to sit at the southeast corner of McCaslin Boulevard and Marshall Road, will include sales, service and delivery operations and employ 40 people, according to town staff.
The proposal indicates that 30 percent of the building will be dedicated to sales, and the other 70 percent to service.
Jon Hardy and Jonathan Power, of Game Creek Holdings, and Superior were joint applicants in the proposed development.
An approval was likely influenced by the perception that Tesla would move operations to surrounding communities in the case of a rejection from trustees.
Asked whether a "no" vote on Monday would be a deal breaker for Tesla and the partnering developers, Hardy suggested it would be.
"This is the only site Tesla will look at in the town," said. "We've exhausted all opportunities. I think this is it."
In his closing remarks, Mayor Clint Folsom reflected on what it would mean for the town's legacy if it were to reject Tesla and have it move to a neighboring community, suggesting it may have a ripple effect on any businesses looking into Superior after it.
"I don't want the distinction of the town that rejected Tesla," he said.
Hardy said other locations the company considered locating the dealership were in Louisville, Erie and Lafayette, among other Front Range cities along U.S. 36.
Superior's median household income for 2016 was $114,310. The median household income in Boulder County was roughly $72,000 that year.
"We've been looking for about two and half years for the perfect site for Tesla," Hardy added. "We kept coming back to Superior."