Jan 28, 2022 - News

Twin Cities suburb could see Minnesota's first car "vending machine"

carvana car vending machine

Image via Brooklyn Center City Council documents

An online auto dealership is eyeing the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center for its first car "vending machine" in Minnesota.

Driving the news: Carvana recently submitted to Brooklyn Center officials a letter of intent and concept proposal to purchase and transform a vacant city property into one of its signature car pick-up sites, according to public documents.

Details: The company is proposing building a "prominent glass structure up to 10 stories in height" on a 3.5-acre portion of land at 1601 James Circle North, next to the Federal Bureau of Investigation field office.

How it works: Carvana buyers would purchase the car online, then visit the site to pick up the vehicle and sign paperwork, Jack Horton, a member of Carvana's retail development team, told the council at a Jan. 10 study session.

  • Once the paperwork is signed, the customer gets a "large coin to put into a slot," prompting a machine to retrieve the car.
  • The customer can test drive the car for seven days. If they don't like it, they can return it, "no questions asked."

What they're saying: The company is looking for a location with "high visibility and freeway access in the Twin Cities area," according to a site concept.

Between the lines: The location, right off I-694, could essentially double as a billboard for the company, thanks to signage atop the tower and the displayed cars.

Yes, but: Some council members expressed concerns about government actions and consumer complaints against the company in other states, as well as using such a big parcel for a project that would create a relatively small number of estimated jobs.

  • Horton, who told members he couldn't discuss complaints, defended the company's customer service model, per meeting minutes.

What's next: Carvana would need to submit a land use application to the city to kick off the formal approval process for buying and developing the land.

  • A spokesperson for Brooklyn Center said no additional conversations have happened since the meeting. Carvana declined to comment.
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