A Tesla sales and service center is expected to open in Superior in the near future — the first such facility of Elon Musk's Palo Alto, Calif.-based flagship company to return to Boulder County since the Pearl Street showroom shuttered in 2011, and only the fifth of its kind in the state.
Planning Commissioners approved plans — under a development amendment and replat of the land parcel — to usher in the new electric-car dealership at the southeast corner of McCaslin Boulevard and Marshall Road, on the edge of the town's multimillion-dollar Downtown Superior (formally Town Center) development.
An approval came despite concerns from commissioners about the project's architecture, upward of 150 parking spaces and long-term plans for the high-profile corner.
Official approval on the plans will still need to come from the town's Board of Trustees in the coming weeks, though a purchase and sale agreement that was signed with the applicant last fall suggests a future vote is only procedural.
The roughly 2-acre, 22,000-square-foot building will include sales, service and delivery operations and employ 40 people, according to town staff, which had been mum on Tesla's involvement until Tuesday evening, leaving any mention of the tenant out of staff reports.
The proposal suggests that 30 percent of the building will be dedicated to sales, and the other 70 percent to service.
Customers who purchase vehicles at the site cannot immediately drive off with them, per Tesla's general practice, but the company promises delivery of inventory models within a matter of days.
Jon Hardy and Jonathan Power, of Game Creek Holdings, and the town of Superior were joint applicants in the proposed development, records indicate.
"I think this is a really unique opportunity for Superior to have an iconic brand like Tesla to come here," Hardy said.
Commercial property prices for the Superior side of McCaslin are similar to the rest of the fledging commercial corridor, according to Boulder Real Estate Broker Todd Walsh, CCIM. The parcel is a prime piece of land for the town's marketplace off of U.S. 36, but towns usually open up their doors for a company such as Tesla, he added.
The company signed a 10-year lease at the location with three, five-year options to renew, according to the proposal.
"We hope to have them here for a minimum of 25 years," Hardy added.
The parcel's proximity to the Boulder market — and its residents' deep pockets — was likely the most salient piece of enticement for the car giant.
The flagship Model S sedan has a base price of $71,000, not including a $10,000 extended battery or other upgrades and options. According to Tesla's website, the first production cars of the Model 3 that went on the market late last year cost roughly $49,000 with standard battery models for $35,000.
Census figures indicate Superior, and surrounding Boulder County, residents can likely afford those prices; the median household income in Boulder County was roughly $72,000 in 2016.
In the same year, Boulder's was $60,569 — and numbers were almost doubled in Superior, where the median household income for 2016 was $114,310.
Officials with the Boulder County Motor Vehicle Division on Tuesday did not have numbers on the amount of registered Tesla drivers in the area readily available, but suggested the organization had seen an uptick in registrations over the past year or so as the company expands its footprint in Colorado.
According to the company's website, only four Tesla stores are open in Colorado: Aspen, Lone Tree-Park Meadows, Littleton and in Cherry Creek. A handful of Supercharger stations are spread throughout the state as well.
Tesla closed its Boulder showroom in 2011 and relocated it to a more prominent location at the Park Meadows mall in Lone Tree.