Online car dealer to spend $13.5M to open Whitestown center

An online used-car retailer plans to spend $13.5 million to open a new fulfillment center in Whitestown, the company announced Wednesday.

New York City-based Vroom Inc., founded in 2013, plans to lease the vacant 500,000-square-foot former Subaru of America building off Indianapolis Road, west of Interstate 65.

It expects to open in December with the ability to store 2,500 cars. The company purchases, refurbishes and resells used vehicles directly to and from consumers online.

Vroom estimates it will spend $10.6 million in lease payments for the next three years. Building improvements will cost about $1.1 million. It is expecting to hire 75 employees this year and intends to expand to a total of 220 employees by the end of 2020 at an hourly wage of $30 to $34, according to documents filed with the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

The IEDC has pledged to extend the firm up to $3.3 million in tax credits and $100,000 in training grants, based on Vroom's job-creation plans. The tax credits are performance-based, meaning they can't be claimed until jobs are filled.

The company currently has 140 employees at its headquarters New York City and distribution center near Dallas, Texas. The Whitestown facility will be its second reconditioning and fulfillment location. It plans to open three fulfillment centers across the country over the next 18 months.

The company also considered Plainfield for the new facility.

As of July, Vroom had raised $54.3 million from investors including Cambridge, Massachusetts-based General Catalyst Partners; Greenwich, Connecticut-based Catterton Partners; former NFL quarterback turned car dealer John Elway; and former Priceline CEO Jeffrey Boyd.

“Vroom is the of high-end, late-model used vehicles,” Whitestown Town Manager Dax Norton said in a written statement. “We welcome such a unique business concept with open arms.”

Whitestown is considering a 10-year, 100-percent personal property tax abatement, which would save the company a total of $151,900. The town council and redevelopment commission have not yet approved the incentives.

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