Longmont officials: Costco opening fast-tracked to spring 2023
LONGMONT — If everything went according to plan, Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq: COST) expected to open its warehouse store in Longmont next October. If there were hiccups in the construction process, there were contingencies in place for a late 2023 or early 2024 grand opening.
It turns out that such contingencies won’t be necessary, as Longmont city officials now say the 150,000-square-foot store on a nearly 50-acre site near Longmont’s Harvest Junction development is expected to open in the spring of 2023.
The earlier-than-expected opening is expected to occur about “six months ahead of our optimistic schedules and a year ahead of what everybody said was realistic,” Longmont city manager Harold Dominguez told members of the Longmont Economic Development Partnership and its board of directors this week.
Costco’s “New Locations Coming Soon” web page lists store openings as far out as March, but the Longmont store does not appear on the list.
A company representative declined to confirm or deny Costco’s aggressive grand-opening plans and said Costco’s policy is to begin providing information on store openings about two to three months before doors open.
There are a host of Costco locations along the Front Range — including stores in Superior, Westminster and Timnath — but none between Boulder and Longmont.
Costco’s entrance into the Longmont market, complete with a generous package of public subsidies, has not been without its share of controversy.
After Longmont City Council approved $12.5 million in city funding and fee rebates for the Costco store in 2021, the company underestimated construction costs and came back to the city for another $2.5 million in incentives.
Dominguez said that rolling out the red carpet for Costco was necessary to boost the city’s tax base and to ensure shoppers wouldn’t leave Longmont to spend their money at other Costco locations in nearby communities that were competing to host the new store.
“The biggest issue was a defensive posture because we did know that Costco was looking at locations just east of us. If they went in just east of us, not only would we not be gaining those tax dollars, but they would suck retail [spending] out of the community,” he said. “… At the end of the, it’s about protecting the residents of our community so we don’t have to keep layering fees and everything else on them” as a result of a less robust corporate tax base without Costco.
In March, a citizens group dubbed Residents and Workers for a Safe Longmont sued to block the project, claiming that Longmont officials failed to properly apply city law, the comprehensive plan and zoning codes when the Costco development was approved.
Specifically, the lawsuit alleged that the plan violates city code because of the visual impact of parked vehicles, because planners permitted a reduction in landscaping and an increase in parking, and failed to take into account traffic flow in the area around the development.
A Boulder County District Court judge dismissed the case in July.