KAR to spend $3.75M to open downtown Indy HQ for software unit

Carmel-based KAR Auction Services Inc. announced Wednesday that it will spend $3.75 million to establish a downtown Indianapolis headquarters for its fast-growing TradeRev unit, which makes software that facilitates dealer-to-dealer auto auctions.

KAR, one of Indiana’s biggest public companies and a giant in the auto-auction business, has big plans for TradeRev, which it bought in stages between 2014 and 2017 for $80 million, with the potential to pay another $75 million over four years, contingent on performance.

The unit, which had 20 people based in Carmel as of 2017, plans to add 200 high-paying jobs by 2023, according to a press release from the Indy Chamber.

KAR said it picked a fitting location for a business tied to the auto industry—the Century Building, 36 S. Pennsylvania St., once the home of C.H. Black Manufacturing, which is credited with building the first automobile in Indiana in 1891. TradeRev will occupy 45,000 square feet.

“Being in the heart of downtown Indianapolis will help us attract the talent KAR needs to accelerate the digital transformation of our industry and help TradeRev remain the premier digital automotive auction platform,” KAR CEO Jim Hallett said in a statement.

TradeRev already employs more than 700 people across North America. The new positions will be in such fields as IT, finance, legal, human resources and operations.

Hallett said KAR—which has about 15,000 employees spread across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe—needed more space in central Indiana despite recently opening its new $80 million, 250,000-square-foot corporate headquarters at 11299 N Illinois St. in Carmel.

In response to KAR’s commitment to boost TradeRev’s employment, Indianapolis economic development officials are recommending that the Metropolitan Development Commission award the company performance-based training grants. The value of those grants was not immediately available.

The 200 new TradeRev jobs will count toward KAR’s 2017 commitment to add 400 Indiana jobs. In return, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered the company up to $6.45 million in conditional tax credits.

Pending approval from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission, KAR will receive $200,000 in training grants from the city of Indianapolis over three years, with the potential for another $100,000 in training grants over the following two years if it meets certain hiring goals.

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