Costco planning new store in East Pierce County

In this June 4, 2014 photo, Patrick Faye, right, looks at a receipt after making a purchase with his twin sons Sean, left, and Ryan, at a Costco in Plano, Texas.
In this June 4, 2014 photo, Patrick Faye, right, looks at a receipt after making a purchase with his twin sons Sean, left, and Ryan, at a Costco in Plano, Texas. The Associated Press

A $30 million Costco store will become the anchor of a new Bonney Lake shopping center to be built where a former experimental forest preserve now stands.

The 150,000-square-foot membership warehouse store could open before next summer if necessary governmental approvals are granted expeditiously, said real estate officials. The Costco store would be the second in East Pierce County. The other is on Puyallup’s South Hill.

The forested tract, south of state Route 410, west of the Tall Firs Shopping Center and northeast of South Prairie Road East, is part of the former Washington State University Demonstration Forest. The current owner, Weyerhaeuser Co., could begin logging the site soon.

Under an agreement reached in 2009, Weyerhaeuser Co. recovered ownership of the 147-acre forest it had donated to WSU in 1941. Under the terms of that donation, the forest would revert to Weyerhaeuser if the university stopped using the forest for research and education.

The 2009 deal allows Weyerhaeuser to sell off part of the tract bordering state Route 410 and another piece west of 214th Street East for commercial purposes. The city of Bonney Lake received 50 acres for public purposes in that deal. A Seattle developer has already asked Bonney Lake to approve plans to build a 600-unit apartment project on the east side of the commercial property along 214th Street East.

Ohio-based Visconsi Properties told the Bonney Lake City Council recently it will buy the commercial tract along 410 from Weyerhaeuser soon and then resell part of that land to Issaquah-based Costco for a new warehouse store.

Visconsi will pay for construction of a new signaled intersection at 204th Street East and state Route 410 and build an extension of 204th to provide access to the shopping area. That extended road will then be donated to Bonney Lake.

Bonney Lake Mayor Neil Johnson said the city will commission a traffic study of the intersection once Costco submits detailed plans for its store.

“We know that the road is already crowded,” he said. “We hope that new technology in synchronizing the signals along 410 (which the developer will fund) will relieve some that congestion.”

The developer will retain ownership of several parcels bordering Route 410 for further development. Visconsi Vice President of Development Brad Goldberg told the council the developer has already held discussions with several restaurants and retailers about building structures along 410. The Costco site will be behind those buildings. Access to Costco will be via four entrances from 204th.

Once clearing and grading is finished, Costco will issue a construction contract for the new store. That contract will give the contractor 110 days to complete the store.

“We build them fast,” said Costco Assistant Vice President Peter Kahn. The store and the road extension will open the same day.

Costco has been looking for a site in the Bonney Lake area for several years. The latest private discussions with Visconsi and the city began about 18 months ago.

The presence of Costco in the new shopping center should help attract other retailers, said Brian Whalen, senior vice president of Northwest Atlantic, which handles site selection work for Costco. “Our presence tends to ratify the decisions for many national retailers,” he said.

The new store is expected to be a few thousand square feet larger than the existing store in Puyallup. It will be equipped with newer amenities including walk-in cold storage and a larger service station with two dozen pumps. The chain has yet to decide if it will sell diesel in addition to gasoline at the store.

The retailer said it expects to hire 150 to 200 employees initially with employment rising as sales increase. The city estimates the store will pay $250,000 in one-time construction sales taxes, $142,400 in building permit fees, $10,404 in sewer fees, $146,000 in water fees, $113,000 in sewer fees and $1.14 million in traffic impact fees.

Sales tax revenues to the city are expected to be between $300,000 and $500,000 yearly. Property taxes on the store are expected to yield the city between $40,000 and $50,000 annually.

Costco, founded in 1983, is the world’s second-largest retailer after Walmart.

John Gillie: 253-597-8663