For years, a 12-acre site on Frederick’s busy Urbana Pike — near Riverview Plaza and its major retailers such as Home Depot and Target — has sat undeveloped.
But that is in the past. Used-car megastore dealer CarMax is in the process of developing the site for a 40,000-square-foot dealership that plans to open in February.
“It’s in one of our high-growth commercial areas,” noted Helen Propheter, manager of the Frederick County Business Development and Retention Division.
CarMax is in the process of hiring 140 employees, including 30 automotive technicians, for the Frederick location. The company offers a sign-on bonus of up to $5,000 for technicians who apply before Dec. 20.
“Many of the positions do not require automotive backgrounds,” said Michelle Ellwood, a spokeswoman for Richmond, Va.-based CarMax. “We are looking for candidates with high integrity and strong customer-service skills.”
CarMax is known for its no-haggle prices on low-mileage used vehicles and buys vehicles from people who don’t have to purchase a vehicle from the company.
“That will be a great service for residents here who now have to go to Montgomery County if they want this type of appraisal on their vehicles,” Propheter said.
She recently spoke with the manager of the Frederick CarMax who said it will be a different look for Frederick. “It is planned to be more technology based,” Propheter said. “If a customer does not see a car he or she likes on the lot, they can walk into the office and search for thousands of more cars.”
She doesn’t see CarMax taking away business from other area dealers but serving more as a complementary purpose. “It’s different from the typical dealership,” Propheter said. “People are generally loyal to a particular dealership.”
The Frederick site will be a brand-new building. A site plan approved by the county in 2008 called for an 87,180-square-foot, one-story shopping center with 481 parking spaces, but that was never developed.
With the Frederick opening, CarMax will have seven locations in Maryland, with others including Rockville and Laurel. The company has more than 125 used-car superstores nationally. Revenue in the first six months this year reached $6.6 billion, almost 19 percent higher than the first half of 2012.
CarMax owns a 14-acre property in Gaithersburg on Shady Grove Road that formerly housed a Sears Great Indoors store. The company has submitted preliminary plans to convert the property to a dealership, presumably moving the nearby Rockville operation on Frederick Road.
But Ellwood said that “nothing has been announced for this location at this time.”