While it doesn’t have the flashiness of one of the company’s glass tower car vending machines, local and state officials are glad to see Carvana’s new distribution center in Chesterfield finally cross the finish line.
“This project is a project that started a while ago. It’s a project I think reflects inspiration and innovation, creativity and vision. But it also reflects fortitude and persistence,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said alongside other officials at a ribbon cutting at the facility Wednesday. “We had a pandemic that landed in the middle of this vision and today we’re here celebrating Carvana.”
The Arizona-based online used-car seller got the $25 million, 191,000-square-foot facility at 15100 Woods Edge Road fully up and running in July. The regional distribution center handles inspections and processes cars the company sells. The center has surface parking to hold around 10,000 vehicles.
Carvana first announced in 2019 its intention to build what was then planned as a $40 million facility. It then canned the idea of a Chesterfield facility in spring 2020, only to resurrect the project about a year later after considering sites elsewhere. It dialed back the scope of the project to the current specs.
“They were reexamining the climate like every business was doing at that time period. When they came back, the site was actually under consideration by a different developer,” Jake Elder of the Chesterfield economic development department said of the journey to land the project. “We tried to work with (Carvana) on any site, really, in Chesterfield that could potentially work for them. That group that was considering the site decided not to move forward so Carvana jumped back on it.”
Elder declined to name the developer that eyed the property and didn’t elaborate on that alternative user’s vision there.
The Chesterfield center is the company’s 18th such facility and first in Virginia, the facility’s, according to General Manager Rob Sheets.
The center currently has 240 workers and is expected to increase its headcount to 400 by the end of the year, Sheets said.
Charlotte-based WHN Architects designed the Chesterfield facility. Chesterfield-based Timmons Group was the project’s engineering firm. Carvana bought the 183-acre site last year for $2.8 million.
Carvana opened one of its signature car vending machine towers in Richmond in 2021.
Del. Carrie Coyner, speaking at Wednesday’s ceremony, said the tower is eye-catching but the Chesterfield facility deserves some attention.
“While people will ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over the Richmond vending machine, which I admit is pretty darn cool, it will be this quiet, hardworking inspection center that ensures that vehicles are ready to keep our roads safe,” Coyner said.