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June 17, 2012

$40M Carollton Costco Almost a Reality

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Plans to build a Costco store on blighted land near I-10 in the Carollton area seem closer to reality than ever. According to The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans City Planning Commission approved plans for the big-box warehouse store – albeit with a few tweaks.

Costco submitted plans to build a $40 million big-box warehouse store across from Xavier University on the site of the former Carollton Shopping Center. The retailers would like to erect a 148,000-square-foot facility of pre-fabricated steel panels – the building material being one of the concerns raised by the planning commission, which was concerned about its visually appeal and integration into the area. Another issue is the size of the parking lot: Developers are pushing for 750 parking spaces, while planners would limit that number to 499.

If approved, the development wouldn’t just make use of blighted land and take care of the eyesore across from Xavier University, it would also generate much needed jobs in the city. Costco announced it plans to create 200 new jobs, of which about 100 will be full-time jobs averaging salaries of $36,000 and adding up to a payroll of $7.5 million. Furthermore, developing the store would create 120 temporary construction jobs.

Even with a five-year plan for the city to rebate $3.3 million in sales taxes to the retailer, New Orleans would pocket about $6 million in new sales tax revenue. And property taxes would amount to $1.7 million annually, which would soon cover the cost of nearby infrastructure upgrades promised by the city. These include street and sidewalk repairs, new traffic signals and streetlights with a combined price tag of $2 million. Further incentives offered by the city include reimbursements for elevation work required by FEMA regulations to mitigate flooding.

Project plans include the traditional Costco features: sales of general merchandise and food, as well as a pharmacy, tire center and gas station.

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Photo credit: Costco’s Facebook profile

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