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Auto dealer Carvana buys I-4 site for 8-story 'car vending machine'

Phoenix-based online auto dealer Carvana.com has purchased land fronting Interstate 4 for its first Orlando-area "car vending machine."

Carvana, which opened delivery service in Orlando this past spring, paid $1.6 million for the 2.84-acre parcel on the 3500 block of Rio Vista Avenue, directly north of the Harley Davidson dealership and Toyota of Orlando that front I-4 with Vineland Road access.

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The sale closed on Nov. 21, and the deed was filed with Orange County Dec. 1. The seller was an affiliate of Jacksonville-based real estate developer Sleiman Enterprises.

Carvana sells pre-owned vehicles, and opened its first fully automated, coin-operated car vending tower last year in Nashville. The five-story, glass-enclosed tower fronts on I-65. A writer for The Tennessean compared it's sleek lobby to an Apple Store:

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"Upon entry into the lobby, a customer receives an oversized coin that they place into a machine, cueing music and illuminating the vehicle tower. The coin triggers an automated process where a machine spins and grabs the vehicle, bringing it to a track that delivers the car to one of three bays. The customer can then test drive or leave with their new car."

At eight stories, the Orlando tower would have the capacity for 32 vehicles. The company filed a Master Plan request with the City of Orlando in May for the 70-foot-high tower, and submitted its latest construction plans on Nov. 30. Orlando's Interplan is civil engineer on the project.

Launched in 2012, Carvana bills itself as the nation's fastest growing online auto retailer. Spokeswoman Kate Carver said projected revenue for 2016 is $350 million. The company closed a $160 million Series C funding round in August, bringing total funding to $460 million.

Company officials have declined to comment on the specific plans for the Orlando dealership.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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