2009-02-04 / Front Page

Costco considers moving to the mall

By Greg Pearson

Lisa Billings/Chesterfield Observer The now-empty Dillard's location at Chesterfield Towne Center could be torn down to make way for a new Costco.
According to sources, Costco is close to deciding on whether to move its Hull Street Road location to a free-standing building at Chesterfield Towne Center. To make room for Costco, a vacant space previously occupied by Dillard's department store would be torn down, and Costco would build its own building separate but near the mall.

"We are looking at many different options to meet the needs and interests of our shoppers," said Tom Coover, the mall's property manager. "Certainly, Costco would be an exciting addition to Chesterfield Towne Center, but currently I don't have any details to share."

The real estate department of Macerich, the mall's owner in Santa Monica, Calif., did not return our call of inquiry.

A Costco spokesperson at the corporate offices in Issaquah, Wash., also declined comment, saying it is company policy not to comment on individual stores.

Costco will reportedly build a store of approximately 150,000 square feet, about 40,000 square feet larger than the Hull Street Road location, which would be sold.

Costco is the fifth largest retailer in the world with sales of $71.5 billion. It has 550 warehouses in 40 states and six foreign countries, averaging $137 million annually per store. Its other Richmond area store is on West Broad Street in Henrico County.

Last year, this newspaper first reported that Costco would anchor a 360,000-square-foot shopping center and 453 apartments just north of the mall. Later, the county's board of supervisors approved rezoning for the 70-acre parcel on the stipulation that Continental Properties, a Milwaukee, Wis.-based development company, would extend Mall Drive north to the intersection with Robious and Cranbeck roads. Zoning approval requires the firm to make the extension a four-lane, divided road with traffic lights at Robious Road and Koger Center Boulevard. During discussion about the site, the county's planning department insisted the Costco building be made of brick and mortar and not metal.

On Oct. 2-4 last year, the mall celebrated its renovation project along Huguenot Road as Barnes & Noble moved from across the street to join the mall. Other recent additions include Coldwater Creek and Red Robin.

Chesterfield Towne Center is gearing up for increased retail competition from two new shopping centers opening later this year. Target opens on March 8 at Westchester Commons, the retail component of the 640-acre Watkins Centre at Midlothian Turnpike and Route 288. Spring openings are planned for Regal Cinemas, Gold's Gym and Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts with other retail stores to follow.

In July, a 185,000-square-foot super Wal- Mart is scheduled to open at Hancock Village on Hull Street Road across from the entrance to Woodlake. Smaller retailers will follow. JCPenney plans to open a 103,525-squarefoot location there in March 2010.

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