CarMax has bought a tract of land off Interstate-75 near Hamilton Place mall where it plans to put a used car superstore.
The company bought the former Overnite truck terminal at I-75 and Shallowford Road for $5.5 million, said David DeVaney, president of NAI Charter Real Estate Corp.
"CarMax seems to be very excited about the location," said Mr. DeVaney about the 8.9-acre site.
A spokeswoman for the Richmond, Va.-based company said it does not have a firm timetable yet of when it will start construction due to the economy.
"It's dependent on economic conditions," said company spokeswoman Trina Lee. "Obviously, we're interested in the market."
CarMax, a Fortune 500 company, is the nation's largest retailer of used cars.
The company, which offers customers no-haggle prices, sold 345,465 used vehicles in its fiscal year ending Feb. 28. It also sold 194,081 wholesale vehicles at its in-store auctions.
Ms. Lee said the Chattanooga store will not just sell cars but recondition them as well.
"The vehicles go through a 125-point inspection process," she said. "That process doesn't happen at every store."
Ms. Lee said CarMax typically spends between $10 million and $20 million on each store, including land. She said the Chattanooga unit likely will have between 75 and 125 employees.
Mr. DeVaney said the truck terminal was not the best use of the property, which was owned by UPS. Overnite has moved to a location off I-75 in the Ringgold, Ga., area, he said.
Mr. DeVaney said the Overnite property was under contract for 31 months before the deal closed. He said a replacement home for Overnite had to be found.
"It's unbelievably exciting for me," he said.
Ms. Lee said CarMax officials like the Hamilton Place area because of the heavy retail traffic.
"That was a factor for sure," she said.
But, Ms. Lee said, the company suspended new store construction last December in the wake of the tough economy.
"It's hard to say on the schedule," she said about the Chattanooga site.