Carvana, the online car dealership, is looking to build a vehicle vending machine in the Twin Cities.
The company submitted a letter of intent and a concept plan to the City of Brooklyn Center to buy a 3.5-acre, city-owned parcel at 1601 James Circle N for $2 million to build a fulfillment center, according to meeting minutes from the City Council's Jan. 10 work session.
The online car retailer allows people to shop for and buy cars online, and then either have the vehicle delivered to them or pick it up at a Carvana vending machine location.
The vending machine would feature a glass structure up to 10 stories tall to house vehicles. It would be Carvana's first vending machine in Minnesota — the closest is currently in Oak Brook, Illinois.
Carvana describes this experience as "immersive," with customers being given an "oversized Carvana token" to insert into the massive vending machine to activate the vending process, which involves their car descending through the all-glass tower.
Here's what Carvana's vending machines are like:
The City of Brooklyn Center bought the property that could eventually be home to Carvana in 2006 and demolished the former Olive Garden and Cracker Barrell that were on the site, city documents state. An FBI building was constructed on a portion of the property, leaving 4.93 acres undeveloped. The city has struggled to find a tenant for the site.
Carvana is proposing possibly purchasing a 3.5-acre portion of the property, noting it's looking to build a vending machine in the Twin Cities that has high visibility and freeway access, city documents show. The property in Brooklyn Center is just north of the Interstate 694-Interstate 94 interchange.
Carvana has not yet submitted a formal application to the city. If it does, the proposal would be subject to the city's full development application review process.
Brooklyn Center City Council members during the Jan. 10 meeting did express some concerns if the project was to move forward, including over criticism Carvana has faced related to delays in car owners getting the proper paperwork for the vehicles they bought.
Council members said they would like reassurances that these issues and lawsuits have been resolved before the city moves forward. A representative from Carvana said they couldn't comment on the cases but noted the company has grown 100% year over year and recently sold its 1 millionth vehicle.
Other council members expressed concern that the Carvana location would not amount to many jobs, which is one of the city's goals. A Carvana representative said 10 people would work at a time, with the location employing 30 people.
Bring Me The News has reached out to Carvana and the City of Brooklyn Center for more information.