A proposed relocation of the northwest Fresno Costco is bigger than originally proposed. In fact, it will have the largest footprint among all Costcos in the United States.
And, increased traffic will be an “unavoidable” consequence.
In a newly released 1,134-page draft environmental impact report, the total project will comprise 241,000 square feet. When Costco released its initial report in October 2021, it planned the main warehouse for 178,000 square feet.
At 241,ooo square feet, it would surpass a Costco in Salt Lake City that encompasses 235,000 square feet. However, 47,000 square feet of the new Fresno facility will be devoted to a market delivery operation of large and bulky items. The market delivery operation is not open to visitation by Costco members.
The new Costco is planned for 7120 N. Riverside Dr. (north of Herndon Avenue, about a half-mile east of Highway 99).
Nearly Twice as Big as West Shaw Costco
The current northwest Fresno Costco is 134,000 feet. It will be decommissioned when the retailer eventually moves.
Construction would take less than six months, and developers are optimistic it can start by January 2024.
Costcos average 146,000 square feet. When the new Clovis Costco opened in 2019, it was about 50,000 square feet bigger (at 148,948 square feet) than the store it replaced.
Sales Tax Revenues
In May, a new Costco was approved for construction in Roseville, a Sacramento suburb. According to The Sacramento Bee, Roseville assistant city manager Ryan DeVore said the new Costco there is expected to initially generate $3 million a year in revenue for the city and anchor a new retail area that would produce $7 million annually.
It’s well known that California cities throw out the red carpet for Costcos — just as they do for car dealerships, Walmarts, and e-commerce distribution centers — because of their contributions to local general funds.
In Clovis, the Costco on East Ashlan Avenue moved to 2270 Clovis Ave.
“Our partnership on the relocation has been a huge benefit to our community, the city of Clovis, and to Costco,” said Andy Haussler, assistant city manager for Clovis.
Environmental Impact and Review
The new Costco will generate more than 191,000 vehicle miles traveled, a relatively new standard to determine the environmental impacts of new construction. The existing northwest Fresno Costco generates 120,000 VMT.
“Due to the nature of the proposed project which involves shopping in bulk and other auto-oriented services on-site, it would be infeasible to implement other mitigation to minimize VMT impacts from Costco members,” according to the report. “Therefore, the proposed project’s impact to VMT would be significant and unavoidable.”
The EIR requires Costco to provide the city with a “Mandatory Commute Reduction program for employees that achieves at least a 26 percent reduction in employee VMT.” The retailer should also encourage ride-sharing.
Another “significant and unavoidable” impact is noise, especially during construction. Construction hours will be generally limited to the daytime.
The new location would need to be rezoned (from community commercial to community general) to allow for a proposed car wash. Changes to street designations are also needed.
The public can review the report and make comments through August 25. Contact city planner Jose Valenzuela at (559) 621-8070 or email at this link.
Two Access Points on Herndon
Access to the Costco will be from Herndon Avenue, at both N. Riverside Drive on the western side, and a newly-built intersection at Herndon and N. Arthur Avenue. The Costco will feature 889 parking spaces.
The gas station will be larger, proposed at 32 pumps. The Costco would also feature a first-in-the-Valley car wash and some home delivery services.
The car wash, however, will not have self-service vacuum stations.
(GV Wire researcher Anya Ellis contributed to this story.)