A husband-and-wife team wants to bring some extra shine to a Henrico plot once slated for a Hummer test-driving track.
Max and Helene Koehler have purchased a 1.2-acre site at 4040 Sadler Road in Innsbrook where they’ll open Wash Your Way RVA, a car wash and auto detail operation.
Through a Small Business Administration loan, the Koehlers plan to invest about $2.5 million in the business.
“I’ve been doing this most of my life,” Max said of the vehicle detailing industry. “I’ve cleaned cars, when I was in college I used to start and operate carwashes for other people … I know this business, and we felt that this was the time to go out on our own.”
Plans call for the site to include an automatic conveyor tunnel car-washing station, a detailing area and self-serve vacuums.
Construction is slated to begin this week, with the carwash expected to open this fall, Max said. Richmond-based Emerald Construction is the general contractor, and Midlothian-based Balzer & Associates is the architect.
“We’re looking to hire about 20 to 25 attendants,” Max said. “We’re going to rely on part-time workers in high school, or even retirees. We’re just looking for people that love cars.”
The Koehler’s purchase of the Innsbrook property ends a nearly two-year hunt for the right spot.
Matthew Mullett, a broker with Shockoe Co. who helped the Koehlers in their search, said the couple had 10 potential sites around Richmond. The Sadler Road plot, which was not on the market at the time, topped their list for its proximity to residential rooftops and office buildings.
Located behind the former Moore Hummer dealership, the undeveloped plot was set to be an off-road Hummer test-driving track, according to Henrico County planning documents.
But when General Motors discontinued the Hummer brand in 2010, Moore closed the operation and left the neighboring parcel vacant.
Frank Pearson of the Pearson Auto Group purchased the property in November 2010 during a foreclosure auction for $308,000, according to county records.
Mullett eventually discovered an expired listing of the parcel for sale and asked if the Pearsons would entertain an unsolicited offer.
The Koehlers submitted a letter of intent for the land in October 2015, Mullett said, and the deal closed on Monday for about $500,000.
The transfer had not been publicly recorded with the Henrico County’s Real Estate Assessment Division Wednesday afternoon.
With the search for real estate in his rearview, Max Koehler said he said he’s pleased with the first outpost, and said it may not be his last.
“I don’t want this to be my only location,” he said. “I feel like we have the opportunity to really build something great.”