Carvana wants to build six-story ‘car vending machine’ in Short Pump

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SHORT PUMP, Va. — Two months after it started selling cars locally, a national used-car retailer is looking to make a towering impression on the Richmond auto market.

Carvana, a 3-year-old online dealership that offers shop-at-home car buying, has filed plans with Henrico County to build an 8,200-square-foot auto fulfillment center with a 6½-story glass-and-steel tower it calls the world’s first-ever fully automated, coin-operated “car vending machine.”

The vending machine tower, as shown in a video from Carvana.

The vending machine tower, as shown in a video from Carvana.

The 71-foot-tall tower, which would dispense cars to customers who have purchased them through the company’s website, would take shape on an undeveloped 1.3-acre portion of Tom Leonard’s Farmers Market’s 6.3-acre parcel at 4150 Tom Leonard Drive.

The site runs alongside Interstate 64 – just up and across the interstate from the original location of locally based used-car sales industry leader CarMax.

A rendering of the proposed site in Short Pump.

A rendering of the proposed site in Short Pump.

Arizona-based Carvana, which entered the Richmond market in late June, is requesting a special-use permit and amendment to proffered conditions that currently prohibit auto sales on the site. The land is zoned for industrial use.

The permit would allow for an exception to current height standards, allowing for a building height of up to 75 feet.

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