Well, we are in our new location of Sydney (Australia) now and have even made a run to Costco. So, it’s time for me to get fully back on schedule with my blog. There’s a bit of a backlog of location news from the last couple of months, so this might be a little long. I imagine there’s still some stuff that I’m missing out on, but I did try to include everything I found about new Costco locations. Still no real news about Oklahoma getting a Costco and I know that is a big one for a lot of my readers.
Well, thankfully they have a new opening date for the new Wheaton location; it will be opening on April 12. This is several months off of the original opening date in October but that date had to be pushed back due to construction problems. But at last, this store that I swear I’ve been writing about for years will be opening in just a couple of months. But there is still the very contentious issue of the Costco gas station. There’s been much debate and fighting about this the entire time this Costco has been in the works. It looks like there will be a hearing for Costco’s special exception application on March. If you are interested the Board of Appeals has issued a notice that the hearing is scheduled for March 11, 15, 18, and 22 at 9:30 am in the Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, Second Floor Davidson Memorial Hearing Room, at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. Naturally, those opposed to the gas station say this is too soon and they won’t have time to have an argument against it and want to put it off until June 2013. I just hope they get this settled because I’m sick of reading about it, along with all of the nasty, nonsensical comments that people are making (on both sides of the argument). In any case, without gas pumps it appears, Costco Wheaton will finally be opening on April 12! Woot!
- Wheaton Patch: Costco Confirms Wheaton Opening Date
- Wheaton Patch: Wheaton Costco Gas Station Hearing Scheduled for March
In other Costco gas pump news, the state of Vermont cleared the way for Costco to add gas pumps to its store in Colchester. But naturally, opponents are saying they are going to appeal the decision. There’s also some ongoing litigation that Costco is involved in with regards to stormwater and local development review approvals for the gas pumps. So, it could be a while before people in the Colchester area are able to fill ‘er up at Costco. However, it seems like they really need it because it seems there are inflated gas prices in the area and they need someone to come in and get the prices back to normal. From reading this article it sounds like the gas prices are higher in this area than in others in Vermont. And with Costco averaging about 15 cents less per gallon than the state average in Connecticut and Massachusetts, I think everyone hopes that Costco can have that same affect in northwestern Vermont. I love that the big complainers are the other gas station owners in the area! And that they are saying they are concerned about the environmental and traffic impact. That’s just so clearly self-serving, it’s almost laughable. There are some road congestion issues that were probably there long before this but it seems Costco will have to pay an upfront cost to fix; I know from other areas that is something they often do. I’m rooting for the consumers to get a win with this one and get some cheaper gas. However, I do think this is going to be a very long process (see Wheaton, MD above).
Bellevue Village Board gave an initial approval to the proposed Costco location there. Of course, this is just the first in a series of necessary approvals, but it means it is just that little bit more of a reality. The proposed store will be located on Monroe Road, just north of Wisconsin 172 and the village board voted to rezone the land from agricultural to commercial use. This will be the first Costco location in the northeast part of Wisconsin and will be a big 150,00 square foot store with gas station, tire center, and the food court. Construction is expected to begin in the spring and that means that this new location should be open by Fall 2013.
The environmental impact report for the proposed Costco in Ukiah should be available to commissioners by February 1, with the intent to have a public hearing on it on February 27. The proposed store is located on Airport Park Boulevard, in the same area where an expansion of the Walmart was turned down due to traffic concerns. As part of the talks with Costco, Ukiah city officials have said that they would carryout the necessary improvements around the Redwood Business Park to alleviate the traffic issues. Of course, how they will fund this is apparently up in the air and may involve some legal action to free up the funds that they obtained from bond sales made by the former Ukiah Redevelopment Agency in 2011.
Redwood City, California
Yet more Costco gas station news, this time from California. It seems that Costco has applied to create an additional 8 pump gas station (they already have 12 pumps) as part of its store in Redwood City on Middlefield Road. However, the council said they could have just 16. The decision to decrease the number of pumps prompted Costco to appeal and ask that all 20 pumps be allowed. But another existing gas station in the area has also appealed the decision requesting that Costco be limited to just 12 pumps. The gas station owner, Andy Saberi, has objected to the Planning Commission decision based on air and traffic analysis and the lack of a condition prohibiting Costco from selling gasoline to the public below cost. Redwood City staff are recommending the City Council deny Saberi’s appeal and grant that of Costco. That recommendation is based on a staff report that concludes that the 20-pump project would not add or increase the existing impacts and that the Planning Commission’s discussion of them, particularly traffic concerns, was based on anecdotes rather than substantial evidence. The appeals hearing was supposed to be held in mid-January but has been moved back to March 11, since one of the parties appealing the decision has asked for more time to prepare.
- The Daily Journal: City Council to take up Costco gas appeal
- The Daily Journal: Costco gas pump appeal delayed
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The East Baton Rouge city-parish Planning Commission has voted to approve Costco’s site plan for their new store that will be built in the old Coca-Cola bottling factory southwest of Interstate 12 near Airline Highway. This approval necessitates making some changes to Dawnadele Avenue to realign it to be closer to the soon-to-be Costco store, as well as adding new turn lanes for northbound and southbound traffic, allowing delivery trucks to get in and out of the site.. The proposed Costco will occupy a 15 acre parcel with a 144,807 (yes, very precise) store and a gas station. The whole development area covers a 28 acre site with one-acre, three-acre and six-acre parcels that will be approved and developed later. The approval of Costco doesn’t mean that the store will be popping up quickly though, as the deal on the property hasn’t yet finalized and there will still be more planning approvals necessary for things like design. The commission did grant Costco a sign waiver though which will allow them to have four large signs that will be of appropriate scale on the outside of the building. At this point, it is estimated that the new Baton Rouge Costco will open by Summer 2014. Which I know, seems like so far away, but at least it’s in the plans.
Bellingham city officials are talking to Costco about relocating their current store to a new location on West Bakerview Road, north of the Bakerview Fred Meyer. In preparation for the new Costco store, city staffers continue to do the groundwork for development of wetland mitigation and stormwater control facilities that would be needed for major new construction in the area. There’s also a lot of money going into street improvements around the West Bakerview-Interstate 5 interchange to accommodate the increased traffic from a new store. Bellingham mayor, Kelli Linville, stressed that even without Costco relocating their store, these improvements will be good for further development in the area. This will enable the city to be prepared to offer sites that are close to ready for development, when and if investors are interested in the area. Linville is very interested in making sure that big-box retailers don’t move outside the city limits as that would bring a significant hit to city sales tax revenues that pay for a wide range of city government services.
Costco, which just opened their new Farragut store in November 2012, had tried to ask the planning commission if they could have a bigger sign, but they were turned down. Costco says that the current sign is not visible enough from the intersection of Lovell Road and Kingston Pike and is not in proportion to the building. But the commission turned them down since this would have involved changing an existing ordinance that they didn’t feel was appropriate or necessary for other businesses in town. I think they also feel that since Costco is doing almost twice as much business as they had forecast before opening, that the sign changes are unnecessary. In the picture that accompanies the article the sign looks big enough and visible enough to me, but without seeing it in person it is hard to tell.
Farnborough, Hampshire, UK
The new Costco location in Farnborough is set to open by the end of June 2013. Work started this month on the 144,000 square foot building and they are looking for a very quick 6 month turnaround until they can open to the public! The contractor is the same one that built the new Costco in Leicester as well as three other Costco stores, so they probably have this down by now. Hopefully everything will go smoothly and they will indeed be open in June.
No Coke, Pepsi: Part Two
So, it is official the Costco Food Court locations in the US will begin serving only Pepsi products starting in April. This change will then spread globally as current contracts with Coca-Cola vendors expire. Costco’s relationship with Coke has been on rocky ground ever since they stopped selling Coke products in their warehouse location for a few months in 2009 due to unfair pricing practices by Coca-Cola. According to Alan Bubitz, vice president of food services for Costco, they needed to switch vendors in order to maintain the outstanding deal of the $1.50 hot dog and soda at the food courts. While Bubitz wouldn’t get into exact numbers for how big a deal this is for Pepsi, he did talk about the amount of hot dogs that they sell. Costco’s food courts sell more than 100 million hot dogs a year, or more than four times the number sold at Major League ballparks in 2011, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. WOW! That’s more than 31 million gallons of new business for Pepsi. And that just accounts for the number of hot dog and soda deals, and doesn’t even get into the number of stand alone soda purchases with the other things sold in the food court.
Holiday Closures and Hours
- Lunar New Year’s Day: Sunday, February 10, 2013: all Costco Korea locations CLOSED.
It appears that Costco Korea is the only store that will be closed for a holiday in February. I’m never sure about Taiwan or Mexico though because their websites don’t appear to be regularly updated with that type of information.