LONGMONT — Samples lovers, rejoice: Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq: COST) will open its newest warehouse store in Longmont on May 4, months ahead of the schedule that the bulk retailer set forth when it began building the roughly 152,000-square-foot store on a nearly 50-acre site near Longmont’s Harvest Junction.
The Longmont Costco, which was initially expected to open at 205 E. Ken Pratt Blvd. in late 2023 or early 2024, will employ more than 200 workers, according to a company news release, and will feature a gas station, deli, optometry services, pharmacy, bakery, food court, tires, beer and wine.
“We are thrilled to be bringing Costco’s low warehouse prices to the residents of Longmont,” Costco’s Longmont warehouse manager Jeff Scheidemantle said in the release. “They have been asking us to open here for a long time, and we already have made an impact on the local job market. We look forward to contributing to the community in many ways.”
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 the 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.
Longmont city manager Harold Dominguez, who broke the news of the earlier-than-expected grand opening in late 2022 during a meeting of Longmont Economic Development Partnership, said last year 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 city estimates that the new warehouse store will generate about $4 million in annual sales-tax revenue.
“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 2022, 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 last summer.