Lots of location news this month. The best news is that three new Costco locations have gotten planning approval and will actually be moving ahead. Then there are three possible locations that are in the super early planning stages and may or may not get approved, but hopefully they will and it won’t drag out too long. I’ve also got a bit about the legal shenanigans going on in South Korea with the (unfair, I would say) enforcement of an ordinance requiring large stores to be closed on the second and fourth Sunday of each month. Also, there are some holiday closures at the bottom of the post for the next couple of weeks in Korea, Australia, and Canada.
Cedar Park, Texas
The new Costco at the northwest corner of toll road 183A and FM 1431 has been approved by the city council in their early September meeting. Costco has reached an agreement with the Cedar Park Town Center LP and city officials to split sales and property tax collections up to the next 15 years—or $6 million, whichever occurs first. Michael Ainbinder, Ainbender Company CEO and Cedar Park Town Center LP principal said that the city will earn around $18 million in sales and property taxes by the time Costco earns its $6 million return. The developer must also invest $1.33 million in infrastructure improvements, including a new bridge over the Cedar Park Town Center pond, greenbelt improvements, basic utilities and access to all new developments, and deceleration lanes along Toll 183A and FM 1431. The new Costco location must be open by December 2014 (as per the agreement with the city), but I can’t imagine that it will really take that long to get it built. The developer plans to have phase one completed by mid-2013, with the entire development completed by 2015. In addition to the Costco, there will be an additional 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space in the development. The new Costco warehouse will be 153,700-square-foot and will occupy 16 acres in the Cedar Park Town Center, and employ roughly 350 – 400 employees.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
The Fort Wayne city planning commission gave approval at their mid-September meeting for the new Costco store! The 150,000 square foot Costco warehouse will be built on a 29-acre plot on the northwest corner of Lima and Progress roads, the former grounds of Seyfert Foods. The new store will create around 200 jobs once completed. Great news for the area!
Bellevue will be the home to a new Costco location that will serve the Green Bay area. If Costco gains village approval, their new 150,000-square-foot store will be between Monroe Road/County GV and Lime Kiln Road/County V, just north of State 172, with construction starting in Spring 2013. The new store, which would open Fall 2013, would include a gas station and tire center. Once open, the new store will create about 200 full- and part-time jobs. I’m impressed because the town actually reached out to Costco and worked on this project for over a year. Hopefully, that will mean that there won’t be a big hold up with planning approval. This will be great for Costco shoppers in the area, since it will mean that they won’t have to travel to Madison to get their Costco fix anymore.
Yorktown, New York
Costco has supplied the Yorktown planning board with a 2,200 page environmental impact study on their proposed location at 3200 Crompond Road. The document is available for public review and will be discussed at the October 15 meeting of the planning board; the public is encouraged to come and be part of the discussion as well. Written comments will be accepted up to 10 days after the October meeting. Several residents at the September meeting were worried that they would be unable to properly read and review the report before the public meeting. Board members assured residents all comments – written or verbal – will be heard, and the hearing likely will be extended beyond the October meeting. You can download a copy of the report from the town’s website. It sounds like this could take a long, long time to get through planning, if it can get through that stage at all.
Lawrence, New Jersey
The Lawrence Township planning board approved a change in the land use designation of a 37-acre parcel located along Quakerbridge Road where Costco would like to build a new location. The area has been changed from a Planned Residential Development to Highway Commercial use, thus allowing Costco to build their new store, as well as possibly building other retail facilities. The frontage on Quakerbridge Road and proximity to the existing traffic signal at Avalon Way would make the site easily accessible. However, any new development will need to be set well clear of the existing Avalon Run East apartment buildings and suitable buffers installed to shield the residents from the new retail development, said planning consultant Philip Caton. The site is currently occupied by several empty buildings that used to make up the Princeton Research Center. Now that the planning board has made their land use change, the city council can go forward with making the necessary zoning changes. Unfortunately, there is no set time-frame for making this zoning change. However, if the change is not made before Costco submits their plans, they will be applying for a variance from the township zoning board. If they wait until the zoning change is made, then their plans will go before the planning board. So, we will have to see how they get on with the planning and zoning.
Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania
This possible Costco location seems to be a long way off still, but it is inching towards reality it seems. The Lower Macungie Township commissioners heard from John Kingsley of the Lehigh County Industrial Development Authority regarding Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, that can be put into place to help fund the Hamilton Crossings project. A TIF is an economic tool that provides money for development of a site that requires a large amount of money to pay upfront costs. In the case of the Hamilton Crossings development, the expense of cleaning up mining waste, addressing traffic concerns and constructing a storm water retention facility would almost certainly put an end to the 575,000 square foot, proposed $100 million project. The plans for Hamilton Crossing will give it a town center feeling, like the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, according to the developers. But this is still far from reality, all that was being sought at the recent meeting was for the commissioners to name a commissioner to the approval process; for the TIF to be approved there will need to be approval from Lower Macungie, East Penn school directors, and Lehigh County. They will need to agree that the property is unlikely to be developed without this project and the TIF funding. Commissioner James Lanscek and Township Manager Bruce Fosselman were unanimously appointed to the job. The East Penn school directors expect to vote on whether to join the committee in October.
- Lower Macungie Patch: Costco to Open by Fall 2014
- LehighValleyLive.com: Proposed Costco shopping center developers want East Penn school directors’ input
Costco has been going against local governments’ ordinances to have big discount stores closed on the second and fourth Sundays every month. The ordinance is meant to help revitalize South Korea’s traditional markets as well as mom-and-pop stores. For the first six weeks, Costco went along with the restrictions, however, on September 9 they defied the ordinance by staying open. And this past Sunday, Costco’s nine Korean stores all opened at 8 am, just like they usually would. Government officials are planning to fine Costco with a 20 million won (about $18,000) fine after a 10 million won fine for its first violation. The biggest fine would be 30 million won, but Costco has said that they plan to keep their stores open on Sundays. Costco claims its decision to open Sunday was justifiable because business-hour restrictions by municipalities were ruled illegal by the Seoul Administrative Court in June. In that case the court sided with the plaintiffs E-mart, Home plus and Lotte Mart, which claimed that authorities ignored several required legal processes before implementing the changes. They won injunctions to suspend the implementation of the ban, paving the way for them to resume operations on the second and fourth Sunday of every month. However, an official from the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said that the injunctions only apply to those who were part of the challenge to the ordinance initially. In any case, officials are looking to strengthen sanctions, even considering introducing business suspensions, and plan to revise the ordinance by November. Costco Wholesale Korea’s country manager, Preston C. Draper, says that Costco is being unfairly disadvantaged by the enforcement of an invalid ordnance.
“Costco believes that the principles of equal protection under the law should apply to all similarly situated parties,” Draper says in a statement posted on the Costco Korea website. “And, in light of these recent court rulings, we should also be allowed to operate our warehouses on Sundays, just like all other large marts.”
I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t even play one on TV, but this seems very strange to me. How can the restrictions be deemed as illegal but that doesn’t apply to everyone? I guess it is because they got injunctions and that is maybe different than the courts saying that the municipalities could absolutely not have these restrictions? It just seems unfair to me that some of these big stores can be open on the second and fourth Sundays but Costco gets fined.
- The Korea Times: Costco Wholesale Korea could face 2nd penalty: official
- The Korea Times: Costco defies Sunday ban
- Costco.co.kr: Preston Draper Statement to Members
Holiday Closures and Hours
- Chuseok: Saturday, September 29, CLOSED after 7 pm. Sunday, September 30, CLOSED.
- Labour Day: Monday, October 1, CLOSED.
- Thanksgiving Day: Monday, October 8, CLOSED; Province of Quebec locations will be OPEN.
Not a lot of holidays and closures this month. If I didn’t list holiday closures for the Costco in your country and you think there are some, it is probably because they are not listed on the respective Costco websites. Or, in the case of Mexico, my Spanish isn’t good enough to figure out if I’m missing something or not and Google translate doesn’t work for the whole site (some of it is images instead of text unfortunately).