VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - Tidewater Auto Auction (TWAA) opened for business in 1967 and will be opening its brand-new facility in Virginia Beach in mid-March 2011. Construction on the new facility began in July 2010.

According to Mike Hockett, president of TWAA, the current location was built in 1967, “and while it was a good location and successful, we had outgrown it and needed to consider a larger area where expansion was possible.”

Currently, TWAA is spread between three locations — the auction, a storage location, and an off-site customer parking lot. The new facility will house everything under one roof, expanding customer parking by 50 percent, storage by nearly 50 percent, and have the ability to more than double sales parking.

The new auction will be comprised of three buildings: an eight lane administrative building, a three lane registration building, and a full reconditioning and mechanical facility. No body shop is planned at this time. Currently, body services are performed off-site.

Nautical in design, the style of the buildings was designed to give dealers a feel for the Tidewater area, according to Hockett. The administrative building will contain offices, eight auction lanes, a full-service restaurant, and a cyber café and dealer work area.

“This facility will be one of the most high-tech, fully automated auctions anywhere,” said Hockett. TWAA develops and owns one of the auction industries largest software companies, AuctionMaster,, which it feels should be one of the auction’s highlights. Very few auctions have the ability to control their automation, according to Hockett.

“We promised dealers a new facility in exchange for their loyalty and they’ve definitely been loyal,” said Hockett. “It’s been a long time coming, but land in our area is really hard to find and get zoned. This site was a really ‘God send’, centralizing us in the area with the dealer base and it’s the largest piece of industrially zoned property in central Hampton Roads. You just can’t find this anymore in our area.”

Within a 100 mile radius, the auction has 302 new car dealer stores and 2,866 used car dealer stores. The new site will be located at 656 S. Military Hwy., Virginia Beach, Va., close to the intersection of Military Hwy., and Indian River Rd. The facility is only 15 minutes from the Norfolk International Airport (ORF).

Hockett used to help design facilities with his father when his family was building ADESA Corp. “The industry continues to change in the services offered to dealers and to fleets. We’ve also seen changes in the industry in the last couple of years that caused our design of the new facility to change in concept,” explained Hockett.

He notes the new facility is less luxury and more an “all-business” concept, “allowing us to run with much less personnel, lower utility bills, and overhead — while providing a full service auction experience for our dealers,” said Hockett.

Efficient logistics, automation and service models have all been considered to provide a unique Tidewater experience for visiting dealers. In regards to fleet manager benefits, internally, their offices are consolidated closely with the rest of the TWAA personnel.

“Our automation has changed, allowing the planning and handling of current and future sales efficiently. Even our storage models allow the reduction of personnel without the high overhead normally associated with the ‘hunting’ for storage units to put into sales. Vehicle location is closely tracked in every step of the process,” said Hockett. “For our fleet clients, we’ll always be able to tell them not just where their units are (physically), but where they are in the process of getting into the sale. Our reporting structures and audit procedures give our clients full histories from ‘birth to death’ that gives them a comfort level in our operations.”

Auction services include:

  1. Full service recon center.

  2. PDR and mechanical.

  3. Vehicle title service.

  4. Transportation service.

  5. AutoCheck and warranty services.

  6. On-site multi-lingual translation services.

  7. Restaurant on auction property.

  8. 24/7 on-site staff security personnel with floodlights, electric fence, and entire premises digitally recorded.

The auction offers a dealer sale on Wednesdays at 9:45 a.m. and public sales on Saturday’s at 10 a.m. The lot is open 24/7. TWAA owns and operate its auto transport company as well as utilizes several auto transport companies to service its auction with competitive rates.

TWAA consistently supports its dealer base via its newly expanded website:

TWAA’s online features include:

  1. Online access with DMV for Title work within TAA’s fleet/lease office.

  2. 24/7 availability to runlists

  3. Broadcast e-mail and fax to approximately 4,300 dealers weekly.

  4. Telephone follow-up on Monday and Tuesday to dealers.

  5. Bi-weekly market reports announcing special sales, events, and partial listing of sold vehicles sent to dealers via U.S. mail or e-mail.

“Many of the designs will bring into play the close proximity to the ocean, the graveyard of the Atlantic (700 shipwrecks off our coast), the history (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, etc.) and the pirate folklore (Blackbeard),” said Hockett. “Dealers should feel what our area is all about; it shouldn’t be just a bland building selling cars. We want them to remember our area and that we have a lot of cars for them to choose from as well as lots of quality buyers. Most of our dealers are like family to us and we want them to feel comfortable and encouraged about staying a while. We’re extremely proud and excited about our new facility and the opportunity to give our dealers a new home — as a ‘thank you’ for all they’ve done for us.”

For more information, visit

Photos of the new facilities progress are below: