Development

Coming to South Boulevard: A car vending machine?

Carvana’s “car vending machine in Nashville.”
Carvana’s “car vending machine in Nashville.”

It looks like South Boulevard is on track to see a new kind of development: A “car vending machine” from the online auto dealer Carvana.

The company, which touts its online buying and delivery process, is targeting a site directly across from the Scaleybark Station for the Blue Line light rail. According to construction documents filed with the city, the Carvana location would include an 8,270 square foot auto store, part of which would be a 71-foot-tall “car display” located at the front of the building.

Carvana expanded into Charlotte in 2014, when it made the city its third distribution center in the Southeast, after Atlanta and Nashville.

The company deferred questions about the South Boulevard project. Carvana has opened its car vending machines in other markets, including Nashville and Atlanta, in the past several years. The company declined to give any details on its Charlotte plans.

“While we do have plans to bring Car Vending Machines like the ones launched in Houston and Nashville to as many markets as possible over the next few years, we’re not able to confirm any specifics at this point,” said Ryan Keeton, the company’s co-founder, in a statement. “There’s a lot of background work that goes into new market launches and expansion within existing markets – from securing a site to working with local governments on zoning to drafting plans specific for each market – and, while we’re excited to continue expansion, we’re not yet able to unveil further details.”

Here’s how the Phoenix-based company describes the set-up in Nashville:

▪ Customers buy their cars online, through the company’s website. Then, they can choose to pick their car up at the “vending machine.”

“Carvana’s car Vending Machine in Nashville is a beautifully designed glass building that contains a Welcome Center, a five story glass Tower storing up to 20 cars, three customer Delivery Bays and an automated delivery system that moves a customer’s vehicle from the Tower and into each Bay,” the company wrote in a 2015 news release.

“At time of pickup, a customer selects their name from a kiosk inside the Vending Machine and inserts a Carvana-branded coin into the custom coin slot, which initiates the vending process. Their car is automatically retrieved from the Tower and is moved through the machine until it reaches a Delivery Bay.”

“Our new Vending Machine is a state-of-the-art, multi-story structure that delivers our customers’ cars by merely inserting a custom coin,” said Ernie Garcia, the company’s founder and CEO, in a statement.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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