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Posted on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 9:16 p.m.

Costco takes big step toward final approval for store in Pittsfield Township

By Janet Miller

Costco's plans to build its first store in Washtenaw County took a giant step forward Thursday night when the Pittsfield Township Planning Commission unanimously approved a rezoning request and preliminary site plan for the proposed development.

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An artist's rendering shows the proposed Costco store in Pittsfield Township.

The action, which carries several conditions, allows the project to go before the township's Board of Trustees for consideration.

It’s been almost a year since Costco announced intentions to build a 148,000-square-foot store along with a gas station and 720 parking spaces near the northwest corner of South State and Ellsworth.

With Thursday’s action, construction could begin by late summer or early fall and the store could be up and running by summer 2012.

The 17 acres for the proposed development is now occupied by an industrial park.

“This project has had tremendous public support,” said Paul Montagno, senior planner for Pittsfield Township. “It’s consistent with the concepts in the master plan, and we feel it’s an appropriate infill project. It’s not a new development site. It’s redevelopment.”

Jack Frank, Costco vice president for real estate development who attended the meeting, said the store is expected to have between 200 and 250 employees, half of them full-time with the other half part-time. He would not comment on the project cost. The township won’t know the project cost until Costco submits its building permit application, Montagno said.

Final approval hinges on several conditions:

--The township Planning Commission and ultimately the township board must approve a revised master plan that would allow for mixed-use development, including a large commercial project such as Costco along with residential and office use for the area. That approval is underway and is expected to be wrapped up by July or August, Montagno said. Costco could begin construction soon after, he said.

--Costco’s design plans must include a small pedestrian park or plaza near the corner of Ellsworth and Airport Boulevard. This aligns with the concept of making the development more pedestrian friendly.

--The landscaping along the Ellsworth side of the project must be more clustered to give it a better design, Montagno said.

Costco will pick up the tab for intersection improvements at Airport and Ellsworth, Airport and State and Lohr and Ellsworth, work that will be completed by the time the store opens, Montagno said.

There will eventually be road improvements at the State and Ellsworth intersection — with the possible addition of a traffic rotary or roundabout, though that wouldn't occur until after the store opens and possibly not until 2018. Costco has committed $500,000 to that project.

Costco is the largest membership warehouse chain in the United States with headquarters in Issaquah, Wash. The closest Costco is in Brighton, with two others in Livonia and one in Commerce Township.

Here's what’s next:

--Pittsfield Township board must hold two meetings regarding the development before approval.

--Planning Commission must hold a public hearing for its revised master plan, expected in June, and then recommend the plan before it heads to the township board for approval. That is expected to be wrapped up by late July or August.

--Costco must submit a final site plan to the Planning Commission, which must ultimately by approved by the township board.

Janet Miller is a freelance reporter for


Sofia Toti

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 11:58 p.m.

I assume the offices to be lost don't include all the Zingerman's' nor Tom Monaghan's classic cars.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

A roundabout at State & Ellsworth would not work with 5-6 curb cuts so close to the intersection


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.


Anthony Clark

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

I believe the roundabout would be at Ellsworth and Airport Boulevard, not at State and Ellsworth.


Sun, Apr 24, 2011 : 2:51 a.m.

The article states a possible roundabout at State and Ellsworth.

Bill Wilson

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

One of my hobbies is cooking BBQ. In fact, I'm a graduate of both Myron Mixon's and Johnny Trigg's BBQ cooking schools. As such, I'm always on the lookout for a good source for my meats and other cooking supplies. I've gotta say, Costco's meats and veggies are top-notch: as good (and often better) than butcher shoppes and specialty places like Restaurant Depot. AND... their prices are better. The asparagus I get from Costco is second to none. A2 and the area will benefit greatly when this store opens.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.

Oh good... more anti-roundabout people. This is the *perfect* location for a roundabout, if you know anything about why they're used. I think that every time I drive thru that area. In related news, as much as I'm looking forward to Costco, I found this to be interesting info: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>!5794510/skip-produce-and-fresh-goods-at-bulk-stores-like-costco


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

It's good news and a big step toward turning that area into a nicer commercial district. I'd be interested to see if Tyner's does some improvements to their property and whether the outer area of that lot (where the old florist building is) gets developed into something.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 12:22 p.m.

Another way to drain money out of Michigan, and sent it to Issaquah, Washington...


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 5:14 p.m.

Another economics major heard from.

5c0++ H4d13y

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.



Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

@SalineMary I completely agree. A roundabout would be a DISASTER. Traffic would back up to 94.

Buster W.

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

I agree w/MB111. I'm a big fan of roundabouts, just not in this case as there is way too much traffic at State/Ellsworth. Additional lanes would be a better solution (two lanes in all directions). If they go the roundabout route, I suggest building a police and HVA substation near the corner.

Ed Kimball

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 12:39 p.m.

Maybe. But there is a lot LESS backup on US-23 at Geddes since they replaced the lights with roundabouts there.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

I completely disagree, A roundabout would be the perfect solution there. Roundabouts are built for such a reason.. To alleviate traffic.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.

I am glad it looks like this project will really happen. I travel the intersection of State and Elllsworth every day. A rotary or roundabout would be a disaster there. There is too much traffic for a roundabout.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

Tyners stays. Costco will be west of Tyners where the industrial park is presently located


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 11:39 a.m.

Still over a year from the proposed opening. I am glad it is moving forward - but now the earliest they can break ground is August? Hope they get the foundation done before winter. Seems like a long time to wait since it was reported this was a big step at teh meeting yesterday.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 11:01 a.m.

when do I pitch my tent for the Grand opening?


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 9:50 a.m.

When the report says &quot;near the northwest corner&quot; I find the remark to be very vague. Is the proposed site west of Tyners, or north? The industrial park somewhat wraps around that corner. Will Tyner Furniture remain? Will the address be on Ellsworth, State St. or one of the Industrial park roads.

Nathan Bomey

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 2 p.m.

@djm12652 According to a previous story we've published: &quot;Airport Boulevard will be at the western edge of the new Costco. ... The location is along Ellsworth Road west of Tyner's Furniture. Some offices on the property now would be demolished.&quot; Also, here's a previous story on Tyner Furniture's reaction to the news that Costco plans to build a store next door: <a href=""></a>

Peter Jameson

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 5:05 a.m.

There's always money in the banana stand.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 2:56 a.m.

I'm a resident of Pittsfield Twp. and I applaud the planning commission. Costco....welcome to the township.

Momma G

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 2:29 a.m.

How exciting! Can't wait. Scio's loss is Pittsfield's gain!