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Carvana looks to bring 'vending machine' dealership to South Fayette

| Saturday, March 3, 2018, 1:15 a.m.
A Carvana 'vending machine' like this one is planned for South Fayette.
A Carvana 'vending machine' like this one is planned for South Fayette.

Receiving a car from a vending machine might be an unknown concept for Pittsburgh area residents. But it soon might become an option in South Fayette after commissioners last month approved a preliminary plan and final land development for online car dealership Carvana.

The Arizona-based company now has approval to develop more than 54,000 square feet of property in the Newbury Market site. The development will include a roughly 5,800-square-foot retail building and a 71-foot-tall vending machine that fits 28 cars.

The move comes as Newbury continues to add new tenants to its mixed-use development, which includes the Gateway Shops, township spokeswoman Andrea Iglar said.

“They're talking about retail, they're talking about finding something in the grocery realm, they're talking about something else related to entertainment, because Topgolf is going in,” she said.

Nationwide, Carvana often are located in similar areas to Topgolf locations.

“Topgolf is an entertainment center, and Carvana is a fun way to buy cars, so they kind of match up,” Iglar said.

Residents will be able to purchase used cars through Carvana online and have them shipped to the Newbury Market location. When a customer arrives for pickup, the car will come down the 71-foot glass tower like an item in a vending machine.

“Carvana is the new way of buying a car, and (the company) is always looking for opportunities to expand its services in both new and existing markets, including the construction of new car vending machines,” Carvana co-founder Ryan Keeton said. “There's a lot of background and exploratory work that goes into these opportunities, and board of commissioners approval is just one of many steps in the process.”

Township officials still need to approve a building permit before construction can start. Carvana turned in its permit application Feb. 27.

In addition to a potential location near other entertainment destinations, Carvana's new dealership will be visible from Interstate 79. When the Southern Beltway toll road opens in late 2020, the entire Newbury Market area could see more traffic.

Recent demographic trends in South Fayette also make the township attractive for companies like Carvana.

“We have a population of 15,000 and growing. There's roughly 100 new homes built each year in the township, and we have a growing audience for new businesses. Overall, we've had a 50 percent population increase since 1980,” Iglar said.

Although not many cars will be located on-site at any given time, Carvana said its online buying process saves customers time and money. The company, established in 2012, has seven other vending machine locations across the country.

Sam Bojarski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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