By Jano Tantongco
Following up on the recent opening of a Tesla Motors gallery at the Walt Whitman Shops, mall officials revealed that there are also plans for an outdoor expansion of the gallery with electric vehicle charging station.
“I think it’s such a nice fit here at Walt Whitman Shops … it fits in with the interests of our guests and shoppers,” said Dave Ackerman, director of marketing and business development at the Walt Whitman Shops. “It brings us a great opportunity for experiencing what Tesla is all about.”
He added that shoppers have been excited to check out the vehicles, saying the gallery has been “jam packed” since its opening. The gallery, which is located between the Triumph and Zara stores in the mall, lets potential customers browse, sit in and get to know the cars without having to go to a dealership.
“It’s a different kind of commitment to get in your car and go to a dealership, get on the lot, talk to a salesperson,” Ackerman said. “This gives you a great, low-pressure opportunity to see the spectacular product in full reality.”
Ackerman also said Tesla associates at the gallery can direct potential buyers to dealerships close to their home.
“People should really plan to spend a few extra minutes while they’re visiting Walt Whitman Shops to get in there and take a good look,” he said.
Daniel Delson, spokesman for the mall’s parent company, Simon Property Group, confirmed Wednesday that there are also plans to expand the gallery outdoors.
The Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals is set to soon hear a public hearing on the proposal, which was filed by applicant Walt Whitman Mall LLC, according to a notice of public hearing.
The plans call for an “auto gallery and sales center,” including an “outdoor staging area for up to six vehicles with charging stations and section for test driving the vehicles in an existing parking area.”
The public hearing is set for the ZBA’s meeting on March 9, 6 p.m. at Huntington Town Hall.