Online used auto retailer Carvana Co., which had initially scrapped plans to build a facility on a wooded tract along Interstate 95 in Chesterfield County, is going forward with those plans.
The company will start construction during the current second quarter to build the 191,000-square-foot vehicle inspection and reconditioning center, Chesterfield’s Economic Development Authority said Tuesday.
The $25 million project on 180 acres along I-95 and Woods Edge Road near Ruffin Mill Road should be completed by the spring of 2022. About 400 jobs are expected to be created with the facility, the authority said.
Arizona-based Carvana had previously announced plans for the project and was slated to start construction about a year ago. It canceled those plans in May 2020.
Because of its rapid growth, the company started another nationwide search for a site for a vehicle inspection and reconditioning center and selected its original project location.
“Carvana has been growing extremely rapidly over the last several years, and we are working to bring The New Way to Buy a Car to even more customers all the time,” said Brian Boyd, Carvana’s vice president of inventory strategy. “As part of our efforts to scale the business, we’re looking forward to working with Chesterfield County to open a vehicle inspection and reconditioning center and becoming a member of the community.”
Carvana will be a strong addition to the county’s corporate roster, said Jim Holland, the chairman of the county’s Board of Supervisors. “Carvana’s new facility in Chesterfield County will provide access to strategic logistics connections, along with a well-trained, business-ready labor force to support Carvana’s continued development.”
The plans for the maintenance facility had been controversial since they were unveiled in 2019. Neighbors across from the planned facility are worried about traffic from car test drives and from vehicle delivery trucks heading to and from the facility. The site will have parking spaces for roughly 9,000 vehicles.
The Chesterfield Board of Supervisors approved the rezoning request by a 4-1 vote in October 2019.
Carvana operates 12 vehicle inspection centers across the country, including its latest one that opened earlier this year near Birmingham, Ala.
No sales will be conducted at these inspection centers, and the public will not be able to go there to pick up a vehicle after ordering one on the Carvana website.
Instead, the reconditioning center takes used cars that the company acquires and puts each vehicle through a 150-point inspection process and minor body repair to get it ready for sale. Once a vehicle is certified, the company uses automated photo booths that capture a 360-degree exterior and interior virtual tour of each vehicle to be added to the company’s website inventory.
A vehicle is stored on the site until it is delivered to a customer’s home, a designated location, or to one of the company’s signature automobile-dispensing towers.
The site would not have one of the towers, though.
Carvana is building one of these car vending machine towers where customers can automatically retrieve a vehicle at Westwood Avenue and Hamilton Street in Richmond. A company spokesperson declined to discuss that project.
The 1.7-acre property is across from Interstate 195 and a short distance from Topgolf’s 55,000-square-foot complex that opened at 2308 Westwood Ave., in Henrico County. SPARC, the youth performing arts school, has its studio and offices on Hamilton Street, next door to the Carvana property.
The company has 28 of the towers across the country. The most recent one opened in Las Vegas in late February. That glass structure stands 11 stories tall and has a 39-vehicle capacity.
Carvana sold 244,111 vehicle units in 2020, up 37% from the previous year. It generated $5.587 billion in revenue, an increase of 42%.