CARMEL - Carmel-based KAR Auction Services Inc. (NYSE: KAR) says its planned $80 million headquarters in the Hamilton County city remains on-pace to open next summer. The wholesale used vehicle industry company, which announced the major investment a year ago, says it currently has 1,200 job openings throughout North America. Its expansion plans include 400 additional jobs by 2020.

In an interview during a hard hat tour of the construction, Chief Executive Officer Jim Hallett told Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman the new building is a boon for drawing highly-skilled workers. "We're in a very competitive market for talent, especially IT talent," Hallett said. "I think the building makes a difference in terms of attracting talent and I think just our location -- where we're located, right here on (U.S.) 31 -- as I like to say, we're only but a five-iron from I-465. We've got lots of amenities right close around us and with all that, it just makes it a great site and a great location."

The move, KAR says, is focused on boosting the company's already robust technological capabilities. Many of the jobs currently available are tech-enabled, including nearly 70 in Indiana for roles such as developers and IT professionals. The new HQ will be home to innovation, technology and data-as-a-service divisions, as well as be home of its TradeRev mobile app-based auction subsidiary, a business it first invested in four years ago. In February, KAR detailed the acquisition of San Francisco-based STRATIM, which develops fleet management software in the on-demand car, ride sharing and autonomous vehicle markets. Other acquisitions in recent years include Chicago-based data business DRIVIN.

Hallett added the play toward tech represents "the next chapter in our growth" and demonstrates the company's ongoing transformation.

Plans call for the new facilities to include 250,000 square-feet that will feature "an open floorplan and broad collaborative workspaces." KAR currently employs approximately 17,500 throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.