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Did City Council Finally Give New NW Fresno Costco a Green Light?
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 1 month ago on
April 18, 2024

(GV Wire Composite)

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After approval delays and a long final discussion, the Fresno City Council approved Costco’s proposed move in the northwest part of the city.

The 7-0 vote means Costco can move ahead with its 219,000 square-foot building — although not all will be used for its retail floor space. The proposed location, at Herndon Avenue between Riverside Drive and Arthur Avenue, includes a 32-pump gas station and car wash.

The new location will replace the current warehouse on West Shaw Avenue, west of Golden State Boulevard. That location, opened in 1985, was the first Costco in California.

The approval came with several conditions imposed by the councilmember for the northwest Fresno area, Mike Karbassi. Costco agreed to traffic calming measures, restrictions on delivery trucks, road improvements, and increased ADA parking spaces.

“I think it’s going to mean a lot of improvements in the area, in terms of infrastructure. I think it’s going to mean a lot more tax dollars generated (and) more jobs, not just for the city of Fresno, but even Central Unified as well,” Karbassi said after the vote.

Construction would start in the fall, with a projected summer 2025 opening.

The project has support from Fresno County Economic Development Corp. and Central Unified School District.

Karbassi Grills Costco Execs

Concerned about traffic and environmental impacts, Karbassi tabled any approval at the March 7 city council meeting. Thursday, Karbassi asked questions at the granular level — from traffic to  asphalt and trucks.

One of Karbassi’s top concerns was Spruce Avenue, the road north of the proposed new Costco. The company would build the yet-to-exist road, and connect it to the existing Spruce both east and west of the Costco.

I worry about (Spruce) being such a wide road. And, we’ve discussed this before, that people tend to just barrel through roads like that,” Karbassi said.

Costco said it would engage in “traffic calming measures” on Spruce Avenue, including all-way stops, medians, and high visibility crosswalks.

The company committed to restricting delivery trucks to the yet-to-be constructed Arthur Avenue on the east side of the facility. The City Attorney’s office told Karbassi that habitual violations could lead to code enforcement action.

Costco will also engage in noise-reduction methods on Riverside Drive — where an existing residential neighborhood will be across the street. Although nothing was finalized, Costco discussed  building a sound-mitigating wall or using special asphalt to reduce sound.

Even though Costco is moving, it says the 12 gas pumps at the West Shaw location will remain. Costco executive Pari Holliday said that would alleviate some traffic of cars waiting in line to fuel at the new location.

At the prior meeting, Karbassi expressed concern about the car wash, a novel Costco concept for the Central Valley. What would happen if the car wash closed, Karbassi wondered.

Holliday does not anticipate a closing of the car wash — the existing 14 Costco car washes nationwide are a success. If they do close, Costco would replace a car wash with more parking or an outparcel.

Costco agreed to another Karbassi-imposed concession — add 20 more ADA-accessible parking spaces beyond the minimum legal requirement. Costco is planning for more than 900 spaces, requiring about 20 ADA spots.

“I wanted to make sure we did ask every possible question necessary to make sure this works for as many people as possible,” Karbassi said after the vote.

Huge Economic Benefit

Costco officials touted significant economic benefits when it opens in the new location. Among the highlights, with some data coming from the Fresno EDC:

  • Property value would increase from $1 million to $98 million. Property taxes would increase from $14,000 to nearly $1 million;
  • Central Unified school bond revenue would increase from under $3,000 to more than $210,000;
  •  Tax revenue estimated up to $15 million.
  • $55 million economic benefit, $4 million more than from the West Shaw Avenue location;
  • Fresno would see a $151 million economic benefit during construction, with $1.55 returned to the community for every dollar spent.

Lynette Dias, planner with Costco partner Urban Planning Partners, said homes within a quarter-mile of its Clovis location increased 40% in value.

New Northwest Fresno Costco Locator Map
(GV Wire File)

A Humorous Conclusion

After a long Q-and-A session with Costco execs as part of a two-hour hearing, Karbassi concluded with humor.

“When this Costco opens, is it going to be the first in California to bring back churros?” Karbassi asked.

“I will make a formal request,” Holliday answered with a laugh.

Councilmember Miguel Arias asked about Costco’s charitable contributions, noting warehouses asking customers to contribute to Valley Children’s Hospital. Arias has been a vocal critic of VCH’s CEO compensation controversy.

Karbassi advised Holliday not bothering with a response, in another tongue-in-cheek moment.

“You may not like where that directs the conversation,” Arias said.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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