Tesla is looking at a location across from the Apple Store in Southlake Town Square for its next gallery in North Texas.
An official with Tesla confirmed Friday that the California-based electric car maker is considering Town Square as a gallery site after the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved permits and zoning changes Thursday night to allow for the display of vehicles and charging stations.
Jason Kasal, vice president of West RPAI Southwest Management, the company that owns Town Square, said it would like the company to take over a 4,565-square-foot space previously occupied by Buckle.
“It’s close to Apple. It’s a great mix. I have no problem with it,” said Chris Greer, Southlake Planning and Zoning commissioner. The proposal goes to the City Council on Jan. 17.
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The gallery would be Tesla’s second site in Tarrant County, following the gallery in the University Park Village shopping center in Fort Worth. Tesla also has a gallery at NorthPark Center in Dallas.
Tesla is prohibited from selling its luxury vehicles directly to Texas consumers because of state laws that require vehicle sales to go through franchised dealerships. Tesla employees at the galleries can talk about owning an electric vehicle and the car’s features but can’t discuss price or sales details. The galleries also sell merchandise, such as hats and T-shirts.
If a customers wants to buy a car, they can use an iPad in the store to order their vehicle while communicating with Tesla employees in California. Teslas start at about $70,000, though the new Model 3 due out this year will start around $35,000.
Southlake did leave Tesla the option of someday selling vehicles at the store if the Texas Legislature changes the law. Tesla tried and failed to change the law in 2013 and 2015 and is expected to try again in the upcoming legislative session.
Up to six cars can be parked in the spaces east of the site but Kasal said they’d usually have two or three available for test drives. Because of franchise dealer laws, the test drives have to be scheduled ahead of time.
Six charger stations will be set up in a section of the parking lot. The spots will still be open for any Southlake Town Square customer or employee to park in but the electrical chargers only work with Tesla vehicles.
“We won’t tow or enforce or anything like that,” Kasal said.