One of the next stores to open on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade might be selling very expensive shiny metal merchandise.
The Santa Monica City Council will soon consider a proposal to allow car dealerships selling alternative energy models at the Promenade, the bustling outdoor shopping district lined with restaurants and retail stores.
Two council members, Robert Holbrook and Terry O’Day, have suggested a zoning change based on interest by Tesla Motors. A Tesla spokeswoman confirmed that the company is interested in opening a showroom at the mall.
“Tesla told a Realtor that they would love to be on the Promenade,” Holbrook said. If Tesla doesn’t come, he added, the zone change would allow other alternative-energy car makers to open a showroom there.
The site wouldn’t accommodate traditional dealerships with huge parking lots, fleets of cars and a service department. Buyers couldn’t even take delivery there. The dealership would be for display, sales and test-drives only.
A Promenade car dealer would continue a trend for L.A. retail. Local electric-car company Coda Automotive Inc. is set to open a showroom at the Westfield Century City mall next week. The Westfield Topanga mall houses two car showrooms, Lamborghini North Los Angeles, which sells new and used Lamborghinis, and the Auto Gallery, which sells premium preowned cars.
The south side of the Promenade is bustling now that Santa Monica Place has reopened, and a dealership on the north side, between Wilshire Boulevard and Arizona Avenue, could help boost traffic at the quieter end of the pedestrian strip.
“There’s been some lackluster performance from one of the blocks on the Promenade,” O’Day said. “And this might be a way to create interest, meet the needs of manufacturers, and meet the needs of the city and its interest to promote alternative fuel vehicles.”
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