CarMax Auto Superstore coming to Pleasanton | February 28, 2014 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - February 28, 2014

CarMax Auto Superstore coming to Pleasanton

Country's largest used-car retailer to build in Staples Ranch

by Jeb Bing

CarMax, Inc., the country's largest retailer of used cars, plans to build a CarMax Auto Superstore on a 20-acre site at I-580 and El Charro Road on Pleasanton's far northeast side.

The pre-owned car dealership would include three main single-story buildings with heights of up to 24 feet, including a main 13,064-square-foot "sales and presentation" building facing the 580 freeway. A larger 45,000-square-foot service building would be located farther south, with other buildings, including a private car wash between the freeway and Stoneridge Drive, where the main entry to CarMax will be located.

Keith Henderson, the company's real estate representative from its headquarters in Richmond, Va., told the city's Planning Commission at an informal workshop session two weeks ago that CarMax will occupy 20 of the 37-acre corner of Staples Ranch, leaving two other parcels available for new car dealerships in the future.

At one time, the Hendrick Automotive Group planned to develop the entire auto mall site but backed off as the recession hit and chose instead to expand its existing facilities in Pleasanton just off Santa Rita Road.

Henderson said CarMax has grown to over 100 locations since opening its first outlet in 1993 and has sold more than 4 million cars.

"Last year we sold 450,000 vehicles at our 130 stores in 55 markets across the country," Henderson said. "Pleasanton will be one of our first stores in the Bay Area."

CarMax also plans to erect a 45-foot-tall pylon sign at the edge of I-580 with a 20-foot-wide illuminated sign in the company's gold, white and blue colors. Ground-level monument signs will be located at other parts of the site.

Henderson said the Pleasanton site will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday with limited hours on Sunday. The service areas will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

CarMax operates differently from traditional car dealerships in that it separates its inventory area from customer and employee parking areas. This is both for loss prevention control as well as operational efficiency and safety, Henderson explained.

Also, CarMax does not use outdoor loudspeakers as sales associates carry pagers and cell phones for communications. In addition, the company does not use flags, balloons, inflatable mascots, painted window lettering or other similar marketing strategies.

After questioning, members of the Planning Commission indicated they would likely approve CarMax's application to build its car center in Staples Ranch when the proposal is formally submitted.


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