Online used auto retailer Carvana Co. has made it official: It plans to put a huge inspection and reconditioning center off Interstate 95 in southern Chesterfield County.
The center would employ 400 workers, according to an announcement from Gov. Ralph Northam’s office.
The company plans to invest $25 million to create the 191,000-square-foot vehicle inspection facility and parking spaces for thousands of vehicles. The center would be located on 180 acres.
Chesterfield’s board of supervisors approved a rezoning request for the project in late October, although nearby residents opposed the project because of the truck traffic that it would create.
Arizona-based Carvana declined to say when construction would begin on the center or when it would open.
Garrett Hart, Chesterfield’s economic development director, said he understands that construction should begin in the spring and be completed by late 2020 or early 2021.
The site plan is now going through the county approval process and should be completed in late January, he said.
Carvana would use about 40 acres of the site for storing about 9,000 vehicles awaiting shipment.
No sales will be conducted at the center, and the public will not be able to go there to pick up a vehicle after ordering one on the Carvana website.
The site would not have one of the company’s signature automobile-dispensing towers. Carvana has 23 of these car vending machine towers, where customers can automatically retrieve a vehicle, in markets including Raleigh, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.
Instead, the reconditioning center would take used cars that the company acquires and put 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.
Carvana already operates inspection and reconditioning centers in Georgia, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, Indiana and Ohio, the company’s regulatory filings show.
Carvana expanded to the Richmond market in June 2016 by offering its vehicle delivery service.
Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee for the project, the governor’s office said. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Chesterfield to secure the project for Virginia. Northam approved a $360,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the county with the project.