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Virginia auto dealer eyes Lithia-owned site in Urbandale


A Richmond, Va.-based auto dealer plans to build on an Urbandale site that was once slated for a Lithia Motors Inc. dealership.

On Dec. 20, the Urbandale Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the City Council approve a site plan for CarMax Inc., which has proposed to construct two buildings on an 11.55-acre site at 10315 Hickman Road.

Lithia, which in November 2007 received site-plan approval to construct a 20,000-square-foot building on the northeast corner of 104th Street and Hickman Road, halted that project after the “vehicle market softened,” according to city records.

Now, CarMax is expected to acquire from Lithia Real Estate Inc. the 7.55-acre parcel on which Lithia had hoped to build, as well as a 4-acre parcel to the north that is owned by DRA Properties LC.

According to the city, the used-vehicle retailer intends to construct a 33,782-square-foot building to house its sales, service and administration operations, as well as a 2,947-square-foot building to contain a non-public car wash and a quality control area.

“They needed a little bit more room than what Lithia had planned to build on,” said Steve Franklin, the city’s chief planner and community development manager, referring to CarMax’s request to create Hickman Commercial Plat 2, which would open up the northern 4 acres for development.

“We are definitely interested in the property,” said Elia Imler, a spokeswoman with CarMax. “Sometimes it takes two to three years to open a store.”

On Jan. 11, the City Council will consider approving the final plat and site plan, which includes 149 parking spots for customers and employees and an additional 377 vehicle-display spaces.

“They’ve been looking at the site for a while,” Franklin said. “It certainly hasn’t been an overnight development.”

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