Carvana plan for Concord site now involves over 400 jobs, $2.3 million in incentives

Carvana plan for Concord site now involves over 400 jobs, $2.3 million in incentives
Last year, an eight-story, clear glass box full of cars opened on South Boulevard as Carvana debuted Charlotte’s first “car vending machine.” (Source: The Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - State officials announced Thursday that Carvana will put an auto facility in Concord, a project that would bring hundreds of jobs to the site of a former Philip Morris plant that’s been shuttered for over a decade.

The Observer reported this month that the online used car retailer was looking at putting an auto inspection and recommissioning facility on the site.

The project would create over 400 jobs, and the company will invest over $30 million, according to a release from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office. The average individual, annual salary for the jobs are estimated to be over $38,000, the release said.

The job total is more than the 304 jobs that had been mentioned in a draft agreement that had been before Cabarrus County commissioners.

“The online marketplace only works for buyers and sellers when hardworking people are moving the supply chain forward,” Cooper said in the release. “We know our quality workforce is a major reason why Carvana chose to grow and invest in our state.”

In exchange for the project, Arizona-based Carvana will receive up to $1.2 million in state incentives over 12 years. The state estimates the project will grow North Carolina’s economy by around $512 million during that time.

County Commissioners approved incentives for the project last week. At the time, Samantha Grass, recruitment project manager for Cabarrus Economic Development, told commissioners the grant was valued at around $660,450. Concord City Council approved its grants for the project this month, valued at around $428,400.

That means total taxpayer incentives for the deal will be about $2.3 million. The company must meet job and investment targets before the grants are paid out.

The Philip Morris plant opened in 1983, but in 2007 the cigarette maker’s parent company announced plans to close the facility and consolidate work in Virginia. That affected all 2,500 workers in Concord, the Observer reported at the time.

The facility, part of what is now known as the Grounds at Concord, covers about 3.5 million square feet and 500 acres. Charlotte investment firm Bootsmead LeaseCo LLC said in January that it would start demolition work soon on the buildings.

The Carvana project would comprise about 4% of the 2,100 acres at the Grounds at Concord site, Grass has told commissioners.

GROWING DEMAND

Customers who buy a used car on Carvana’s website can either have it delivered or pick it up at one of the company’s car vending machines.

Carvana opened a vending machine, its first in Charlotte, along South Boulevard last year.

Vehicles will be inspected, reconditioned, photographed and stored at the facility in Concord. That will help the company address growing demand, and help customers get their cars faster, the release said.