They’re turning dirt!!! Springfield Costco construction project underway
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Last June the city of Springfield finally confirmed that what many residents had been wanting for a long time was finally coming to town....a Costco membership warehouse retail store.
The Seattle-based company is the second largest retailer in the world behind Walmart and while Springfield has a lot of Wally Worlds in addition to the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company’s version of a membership store, Sam’s Club, Costco is just now making its first appearance in the Queen City.
Not that Costco would confirm that.
Attempts to get in touch with their corporate headquarters involves filling out a “media form” in which you are informed that Costco has no public relations or media department.
About 18 hours later we received an e-mail response thanking us for our interest but stating, “Unfortunately, it is our company policy to not comment regarding future Costco warehouses until we are ready to share the details about the new location (usually 2-3 months in advance).”
The website also has a list of “Future Locations” and with a projected fall start-up date, Springfield is not listed.
But we’re pretty sure they’re coming. The construction site just off Eastgate Road, a block south of Chestnut Expressway, is buzzing with activity as heavy equipment is turning dirt and infrastructure is being put into place.
And oh yeah...there’s a sign saying “Costco-Coming Soon”.
So much for keeping it on the down-low.
“They’ve been in touch with the various city departments from building development services to public works,” answered Cora Scott, Springfield’s Director of Public Information and Community Engagement, when asked how much Costco officials had been “engaging” with the city. “They just don’t necessarily talk to the media or the public. We’re standing alongside cheering and whenever they’re ready to talk about it we’ll be excited to hear from them.”
Ever since the city announced that Costco was coming the anticipation of its impact has been growing. The company gives back to every city it serves by donating one percent of its profits to charitable organizations.
“Costco is so significant not only in terms of its economic impact but what it does for the community,” said Springfield Mayor Ken McClure. “So Costco is at the top rung really of the types of businesses we want to attract.”
“There’s a list of stores that folks would like to see in Springfield and Costco is always on that list,” added Mary Lilly Smith, Springfield’s Planning and Development Director. “We’ve been trying to get them for over five years. What we’ve seen happen in other communities is that there are other retailers who will follow Costco.”
Costco’s arrival comes with one caveat though. The city had to agree to relocate part of Eastgate Avenue that would have run through the warehouse’s site (near the intersection of Eastgate and Olive Street).
“That work has already been done,” Scott said. “And what you’re seeing now out on the site is a lot of preliminary work, the grading and the creation of the internal roadway system within the site. They’ve already received their building permit so you should start seeing some construction of the building in the next couple of weeks.”
The city will also make storm water improvements with Costco paying for the estimated $4.8 million in total cost of street relocation and other changes but the city will reimburse them over the next 15 years with a portion of the sales tax Costco generates.
With a completion day of this fall, there will no doubt be more activity around the site that may clog up traffic..
“I think that any interruptions will be temporary,” Scott said. “It’s progress. It means a lot to have the second largest retailer in the world come to Springfield. They are expected to bring about 125 jobs to the community and the average hourly employee at Costco gets paid about $25.50. So we think all those things combined is a good thing for our community.”
On Thursday Costco did go public at a Senate Budget Committee meeting to announce that their starting hourly wages would increase to $16 per hour. That word coming as Congress is considering increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
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