Commissioners Approve Galpin Lotus Dealership on Wilshire

The Planning Commission voted 4-0 at its Sept. 22 meeting to approve an electric vehicle dealership at 9777 Wilshire Boulevard to be operated by Galpin Motors. Commissioner Peter Ostroff did not attend the hearing. 

The dealer will feature cars by Lotus, the British sports car maker that last year announced it was pouring the equivalent of $2.8 billion into producing electric vehicles. 

Galpin has leased out the ground floor of the Wilshire Boulevard space, according to Jeff Skobin, chief marketing officer and vice president of business operations for the Van Nuys-based company. Skobin did not specify when the dealership would open.

Galpin Lotus dealership approval comes four weeks after commissioners let Faraday Future occupy the ground floor of 464 North Beverly Drive to show and sell its own electric vehicles. It also arrives four weeks after the California Air Resource Board’s landmark announcement banning gas-powered car sales in California, beginning in 2035. 

“We are starting to get these EV [electric vehicle] dealerships, which are unique in that they are fully indoors,” said Timothea Tway, the city’s director of planning and community development at the meeting. “They can be located in more traditional retail areas.”  

At the Faraday Future meeting, commissioners questioned the viability of a company that has been around for eight years but has yet to a produce a consumer-ready car. 

Lotus appears more established. The brand has been around since 1948, and announced in March custom deliveries of electric car models including the Evija, which Lotus dubbed an “all-electric British hypercar.”

Lotus makes “hero-type vehicles” Skobin told commissioners, which retail for about $150,000 each. 

Galpin already has a dealership on the 9700 block of Wilshire, Polestar of Los Angeles. The dealership’s inventory includes electrically-charged convertibles. 

Galpin Lotus is entering into 33,708 square feet of space on Wilshire Boulevard in a 58-year-old building designed by Sidney Eisenshtat. The space has sat vacant for two years. 

“Tenanted space is a lot better look than vacant space,” said Commissioner Terri Kaplan. 

However, commissioners also expressed concern the space not be used too much.

Commissioner Jeff Wolfe and Planning Vice Chair Gary Ross noted that dealership hours were part of an operational plan, but had not been included in the official resolution commissioners were voting upon. These hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

But Tway successfully pushed back against codifying these hours of operation, explaining that Beverly Hills triangle businesses can operate at all hours.  

“One thing I would encourage you to think about,” said Tway. “There has been a concerted effort by the city to allow businesses to stay open later.” 

Meanwhile, Planning Commission Chair Myra Demeter focused on a statement from Skobin that Galpin Lotus might like to hold community events.

Your proposal “is for vehicle sales and leasing,” Demeter said. “It’s not for events.”

“If you’re having an evening event, that doesn’t fit the time of operation,” Demeter added.

Tway assured Demeter that the resolution would change to say that Galpin Lotus shall obtain all necessary event permits from the city.

Other recent city planning developments of note: 

• Hudson Pacific Company must redo its entitlement application for their sweeping redevelopment of the Saks building at 9600 Wilshire Boulevard. 

Project information is “insufficient for a meaningful analysis,” as “key development information, such as floor areas of the various uses, are scattered throughout the narrative.”

• David Taban, the real estate investor Lexington Prime Real Estate LLC, has submitted revised plans for a mansion at 1510 Lexington Road. First proposed in 2016, commissioners tabled the development after a three-hour discussion in August that focused upon the developer cutting down trees without first seeking city permission, and wanting to build a bigger than usual basement. 

The revised mansion plan will come before the commission again on Oct. 13.