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Posted on Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 6:02 a.m.

Costco meeting with Pittsfield Township and road officials to keep new store plans in motion

By Paula Gardner

Efforts to build a Costco store in Pittsfield Township continue, local officials say.

However, official site plans to build a store northwest of the State and Ellsworth intersection have not been submitted nearly three months after some details were released about talks between the township and Costco.

The Washington-based warehouse club retailer - the 9th largest in the U.S. in 2009 -is meeting this summer with municipal and road officials in preparation for seeking approval to build the store.

“We want to make sure Costco knows what community expectations and needs are going to be,” said Mandy Grewal, Pittsfield Township supervisor.

The township hosted a predevelopment meeting in June, Grewal said, “to keep things moving forward.”

Next, representatives of Costco will be meeting Monday with staff of the Washtenaw County Road Commission to review a traffic study for the area around the proposed store.

Costco has an agreement with Airport Boulevard Associates Inc. - an entity run by Jake Haas - to demolish existing buildings from Airport Boulevard east to the Tyner’s Furniture property and build a new store.

Proposed site plans for the store will have to include results of a traffic study and a mitigation plan to keep increased traffic volumes from adversely impacting the intersection.

So far, engineers have not agreed on how traffic will affected, said Steve Puuri, managing director of the WCRC.

“They’re still debating the right numbers to apply to the traffic volumes,” he said.

The traffic study is looking at an “impact zone” from the I-94 interchange at South State to Ellsworth, then west on Ellsworth to Lohr Road.

The impact on State between Ellsworth and Textile hasn’t been an issue, Puuri said, because it’s believed traffic “would come to their site by and large from the freeway.”

Discussions also involve Ann Arbor officials, since Ann Arbor shares the State-Ellsworth intersection with Pittsfield Township. In addition, part of the impact zone - including the State Street entrance to Airport Boulevard - is in the city.

Agreeing on the numbers for the traffic volume will direct what type of mediation may be required, Puuri said. And he added that it’s too early to say whether options could include adding a turn lane, new signals, a roundabout or other changes.

“All options are on the table,” Puuri said.

Adding non-motorized transportation alternatives to the vicinity also is a goal of the township, Grewal added.

Determining the timeline for submitting plans for the store is up to Costco, Grewal said. Once that happens, the public will be invited to give its reaction. The process will include rezoning.

In the meantime, she described the conversations with the retailer as a “very positive working relationship. We’ve had a respectful and productive dialogue.”

Paula Gardner is Business News Director of Contact her at 734-623-2586 or by email. Sign up for the weekly Business Review newsletter, distributed every Thursday, here.



Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 12:23 p.m.

I will be happy when the store opens. I have shopped at Costco, formerly Price Club, in CA and WA since ~1981. I tried Sam's Club, but couldn't get past it being the anti-union Wal-Mart. Since returning to Ann Arbor from year in Seattle in 1997, I was told that Costco would move into all the ex-Builders Square locations. Sadly, that did not happen.

John Q

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:37 a.m.

"Not exactly great urban planning by the previous administration." Now that's revisionist history. It was the school district that acquired the land and built the schools adjacent to land that was already planned and zoned for commercial development. The schools were built before Wal-Mart but the area was planned for commercial development long before the schools arrived.

DB Holden

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 6:45 a.m.

Gemini: Lets don't engage in revisionist history on WalMart. The main objection to Wal-Mart was the location. We are now seeing that manifest itself in higher traffic volumes. When school resumes in September it will be even worse with young drivers navigating to and from Saline High School. Costco will be adjacent to an interstate and that is exactly where "big box" stores should be located to minimize disruption to local traffic. Wal-Mart had plenty of opportunities to locate near US23-US12 and the previous administration did nothing to encourage a site change. The result is we have a big box in the middle of a dense residential area with inadequate road infrastructure. The minor road modifications may alleviate site proximity traffic but that merely pushes the problem further up the road. Not exactly great urban planning by the previous administration.


Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 6:54 p.m.

vicki...didn't know people were shopping downtown for toilet paper and juice boxes! Costco is supposed to be a wonderful company,who treats their employees well. Sounds like it will be perfect for Ann Arbor!


Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 5:58 p.m.

Kudos to Pittsfield Township and their approach with welcoming new business. The township and county did a wonderful job approving and planning the Walmart development. Traffic flows very well in and around the Walmart area, they will do the same with Costco.


Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 3:48 p.m.

Ellsworth needs a couple more lanes now, wait till the Costco opens. Hopefully all the parties involved can figure out how to make the traffic changes work. Costco will be good for all the business in that area. The more traffic, the more sales for everyone.


Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 10:26 a.m.

I'm confused about all this "big box store" talk. If Costco will take away from the "downtown" businesses, exactly what businesses will be affected? Starbucks? Selo Shevel? M Den? I mean seriously, if not for overpriced clothing, and chatki's with Block M's...about the only thing left downton is food and beverage or hair salons and very specific specialty stores...with the exception of Sam's on Liberty....


Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 9:50 a.m.

Let us not forget, or forgive, the last time Costco attempted to come to the area. The site was at the Zeeb Rd. exit of I 94, easier for traffic than the new location. Costco was going to buy surplus land belonging to the Washtenaw Co. Road Commission (which can use the money), getting it on the tax rolls, and develop a park on part of it. The deal was sabotaged by zoning quibbles, presumably instigated by the competition (big boxes, not mom-and-pop stores).

Paula Gardner

Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 9:39 a.m.

Two corrections have been made to this story.


Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 9:28 a.m.

Kristine, To get to the Brighton Costco, get off at Silver Lake Road (one exit earlier) onto a recently repaved 2-lane road paralleling US 23 on the left, and duck the maze.


Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 8:36 a.m.

Looking forward to a Costco over there and I think that intersection at State and Ellsworth could be vastly improved by a roundabout - heck, all intersections could. All it takes is for one person to be broadsided by someone running a light to realize slower speeds are safer and still keep people moving. Not rocket science. But also, that whole corridor could use a serious facelift. Now all we need is for a few folks to buy the old Chi-Chi's and Great Lakes Steakhouse buildings and start getting people buying in that area again.


Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 7:45 a.m.

They'll have to do something about the left turn late turning north onto State from Ellsworth. That light is very short and already backs up very quickly during rush hour. I'm glad it's happening, though, and that so far the NIMBYs haven't chased this one away.


Mon, Jul 19, 2010 : 12:07 a.m.



Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 11:01 p.m.

Monica, my father works at Wal Mart and they treat himm just fine. The fact is that Unions do not treat their members fairly or equitably all the time.An Union is a business like the company it is attached too. This is something most Leftists who live in a world of theory don't seem to be able to grasp. They are filled with lazy, corrupt, ignorant, persons who have no business being a head of a lemonade stand, much less of a local. Wal Mart is a low skilled job that requires little in terms of actual skills.Why should such people get paid $40,000 a year to do something chimpanzees can do? I worked at Target during my college years. Retail takes little in the way of intelligence or skill. Besides, this is a free country. You don't have to work at Wal Mart.No one is forced to work there. You know what is in store when you apply.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 9:05 p.m.

BTW,, the county official's name is Puuri, I believe, not Purri.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 7:59 p.m.

@ Andy Jacobs First off everyone that hates roundabouts are not oldtimers. I am 44 and as a biker have had more close calls from idiots that think yeild means anything but. Probably someone like you. As for the traffic on state and Ellsworth. The better idea is for a wider roadway with better left turning made through that whole stretch. More lanes means faster travel.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 5:53 p.m.

Doubt pittsfield would do a roundabout. They must make a fortune off all the tickets coming out of Walmart.More likly a poor design with no left turns etc..Ever since that store opened the police live across the street.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 5:34 p.m.

Great news about Costco to Pittsfield Twp. Real wages, real benefits, real fine place to work. Local construction jobs for trades The roundabout issues are not a problem in Europe. They save fuel and move traffic in a much more responsible manner. All a driver needs to do is make sure that they yield to anyone coming from the driver's side of their vehicle. Seems normal from a safety standpoint too.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 4:08 p.m.

I just hope Pittsfield and the road commision get with it. This isn't brain surgery to figure out how the roads are going to be. Come on how long have you been in the business. I am just hoping Pittsfield doesn't drag there feet like Scio Clownship did and miss the TAXES, AND JOBS they could have had because they just want to hug those trees. News bulliten try huggin doesn't pay your bills. I wish some- body that could would vote everyone of them out. Big open land on a beautiful boulevard that was made for big box stores, but no way lets make it so difficult nobody will come to Scio Township.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 1:24 p.m.

Big box stores come in and displace community owned businesses with lower wages. NO jobs are created, they just migrate ones from smaller community stores in the area to lower paying/lower benefits.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 1:05 p.m.

Hope to see Costco's up and running in the next year or two. First and foremost, for JOBS, and this region can use some. Costco pays their employees a livable wage and provide much needed medical benefits to them also. The retailer is known for treating their employees fair and consistent (unlike the other bunk retailer on Michigan Avenue and Carpenter). Second, more discount bulk shopping is a good thing in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. For years to come, saving dollars, instead of spending them on unnecessary items..will be the mode of operations for the future. It will take years for this region to complete pull out of the recession of 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and probably until 2012, at least. Costco's will provide another affordable shopping option for the budget minded consumer (and give some competition to the other bulk retailer, down the street). If they need to build a turnabout at State and Ellsworth to revive the traffic situation, I think that would be a good thing. Traffic at rush hour or after a U of M home game (Football particularity) has been awful in that area, for years. The stop light just makes it worse, in my option. The turnabout would allow all directions of traffic to flow much easier there and, help the traffic jams extending up State and Ellsworth, in both directions. I hope all local governmental officials in Pittsfield, Ann Arbor and the Road Commission; will find a way to quickly make Costco's a part of this community. Remember, folks...the region could use the JOBS Costco's will bring!


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 12:13 p.m.

I agree with MK about Tyner. Right now, there's A LOT of land in the form of a parking lot that is vastly underused at that intersection. The parking was built originally for a K-mart which gets a lot more traffic than an upscale furniture store. So, it would be ideal if a re-development plan could be created for both the Airport Boulevard Properties land AND the Tyner corner lot. Then, both stores, plus maybe a few smaller ones could be designed into a logical, easier traffic development. Just an idea to consider. Otherwise, I'm excited about the Costco coming in. From all I've read, they are an extremely well-run store chain that treats their employees really well - unlike another large, nation-wide chain that's been brought up here.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 11:59 a.m.

roundabouts would be a horrible idea, hopefully they will not include any of them.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 11:29 a.m.

Love how the article digresses to whining about those pesky, low maintenance, high safety, easy to understand & use roundabouts. Look out, the roundabouts breed like rabbits and are coming for ya old timers! Case in point the new pesky roundabout that just appeared at Whittaker & Stony Creek Rd. in Ypsi Township. Problem solved, those sly devils!


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 10:41 a.m.

I for one can't wait for a new Costco in our area. I currently drive almost 30 miles to shop at the 8 Mile & Haggerty Costco or the store at I96 & Middlebelt. (It's also about 30 miles to get to the Brighton Costco, but I loathe their round-abouts.) I do not and will not shop at Walmart or Sam's Club, so I would welcome a local Costco with open arms.

vicki honeyman

Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 10:25 a.m.

The last thing small businesses in our community need is yet another big box store that will draw shoppers away from downtown and the local retail businesses. It's sad to see that Ann Arbor is slowly going the way of anywhere USA, where the same corporate retailers make one community the same as the next. CVS and 7/Eleven are moving into in the middle of Ann Arbor's State St in downtown A2!

Fat Bill

Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 9:43 a.m.

I can't wait for Costco to move in. Unlike Wal-Mart, Costco treats their employees better and is a much more pleasant place to shop. The State/Ellsworth area retail sector was stagnant or in decline; a Costco would certainly help to stabilize retail in the area as well.

Kent Jocque

Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 9:22 a.m.

"build a store northwest of the State and Ellsworth intersection " "demolish existing buildings from Runway Boulevard east to the Tyners Furniture property" Runway Boulevard? That has to be wrong since Runway Blvd is like a half mile south of State and Ellsworth and that same distance away from Tyner's. Should "Runway" be "Airport"?


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 9:13 a.m.

What are the chances Costco asks Tyner to politely move someplace else? I think knocking down the Tyner building and the old flower shop and replacing it with a Costco would be a smart move. Tyner would fit better in the Khols/Borders/Best Buy shopping center on oak valley or lohr


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 9:08 a.m.

I think it is great that Costco is looking to get in the area. But the county, township and city of A2 will need to all kick in on doing something to remedy the already heavy traffic volumes that are there now. I have no problem with this as long as they do not put in any more of those stupid roundabouts.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 6:52 a.m.

Tax revenue, jobs and lower price goods, What's not to like about this?

dading dont delete me bro

Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 6:36 a.m.

that area is a ZOO when it comes to traffic at rush hours... maybe they could put one of those "solve all problem" round-a-bouts there...maybe 2 since it's so bad. 2 x solve the problems = has to work. @gemini27200, "...Let's hope they hold Costco to the same standards as Wal-Mart, or higher..." -hunh? didn't know costco's were slum. everyone i've been in has been very nice. might give sam's club a little competition.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 6:12 a.m.

Good, I can't wait to shop at Costco.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 6:11 a.m.

The current Pittsfield Administration, and County Commissioner Judge were strong opponents of the Wal-Mart store. Nice to see they like Costco. Let's hope they hold Costco to the same standards as Wal-Mart, or higher and show the community it doesn't matter where a new development is located in the township. Maybe Ms. Judge can chain herself to a bulldozer again, just like she did with the Wal-Mart / State Street Crossing development.


Sun, Jul 18, 2010 : 5:33 a.m.

I'm glad that Pittsfield Twp. is showing Costco that they are still interested in this development. The area has waited for quite some time for one of these stores to open in the area. I hope it comes to fruition soon.