A Carvana facility is coming to Polk County.
Lakeland has grabbed most of the industrial projects in Polk County in recent years, amid a boom in e-commerce companies and last-mile logistics.
Now Haines City, 25 miles east of Lakeland, is on the verge of its own prized industrial project: Carvana, the no-showroom car dealership that sells vehicles out of a glass tower vending machine, plans to build a $47 million auto inspection and distribution center in the city. Tempe, Ariz.-based Carvana has agreed to pay $921,750 for the site, an undeveloped tract between County Road 544 and Bannon Island Road, according to Haines City records.
The planned facility — closed to the public — will house a 200,000-square-foot warehouse/inspection center that will become a hub for Carvana vehicles getting ready to go inside the company’s glass, shiny sales towers. Vehicle inspectors will fix minor repairs, change oil and other work before approving the cars and trucks for sale. The project, according to Haines City records, goes under the name Project Gumball.
Carvana has filed paperwork to receive an Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption for the project with Polk County and an industrial project application with the Southwest Florida Water management District.
A Haines City spokeswoman declined to comment on the project beyond public filings. Officials with Carvana and Polk County didn’t return several calls for comment.