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Posted on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:28 p.m.

Costco seeks to build new store in Pittsfield Township

By Paula Gardner


This Costco warehouse store in Livingston County's Green Oak Township, shown here under construction, opened in December 2004. Costco executives previously sought property for a new store in Scio Township and now seeks to build in Pittsfield Township.

File photo |

Plans are back on for Costco Wholesale Corp. to build a store near Ann Arbor: Now the national retailer is pursuing a location in Pittsfleld Township, Supervisor Mandy Grewal confirmed today.

The location is northwest of the State and Ellsworth intersection, described as behind Tyner's Furniture but east of Airport Boulevard.

The location gives Costco [NASDAQ: COST] proximity to the I-94 interchange at State Street, and it would place the store within the retail trade areas established at Ann Arbor-Saline Road and I-94, and also the emerging retail hub at Michigan Avenue, where Walmart opened in 2009.

"It's one of our main gateways into the township," Grewal said of the State Street corridor.

Grewal said Costco's real estate team - led by representatives from the Chicago office of Northwest Atlantic - has been talking to township representatives for the last few months.

The member-only warehouse store is doing a traffic study and is applying for a liquor license in the township, she said.

Store officials have not yet submitted a proposal to the planning commission, Grewal said. Rezoning will be required, she added.

The proposal will seek to build a standalone store and a gas station, Grewal said.

The proposed site is owned by local developer Jake Haas, who also owns the properties on Airport Boulevard.

airport plaza.jpg

Airport Boulevard will be at the western edge of the new Costco, according to plans in the works to build the new warehouse store in Pittsfield Township. The location is along Ellsworth Road west of Tyner's Furniture. Some offices on the property now would be demolished.

Melanie Maxwell |

"There is existing office space," Grewal said, which would be demolished to make way for the new store. "Jake's made arrangements to relocate them."

Costco was the 9th largest retailer in the U.S. as of summer 2009, according to reports. The Washington-based chain operates 567 locations, 414 in the U.S. It generated $71 billion in sales in 2009. Nearby locations include Green Oak Township and Livonia.

The chain had sought to build an Ann Arbor location for several years, but abandoned efforts to locate in Scio Township in 2006 after residents opposed a proposal for the Washtenaw County Road Commission to lease land for a store on its property at I-94 and Zeeb Road.

At the same time, the chain withdrew plans for further expansion into Michigan, and slowed overall expansion from an average of 25 stores per year in 2005 to an estimated 7 planned in 2010.

The location in Pittsfield Township lets the chain target an infill location that also fits the township's goals of attracting quality businesses while balancing land preservation, Grewal said.

While the store is likely to significantly boost traffic in the corridor, the township also will seek to develop non-motorized transportation in the vicinity, Grewal said. That could include bike and walking paths connected to the Lohr-Textile Greenway.

The State-Ellsworth intersection had been eyed for significant retail redevelopment in recent years, before the economy stalled local development.

Properties in Research Park, northeast of the intersection along State in the city of Ann Arbor, had been proposed for rezoning.

Also, the First Martin Corp. property at the northeast corner - most recently the closed Enzo's Restaurant - was approved by city officials for an 8,000-square-foot multi-tenant retail site.

To the west, owners of the former Pinter's Flowerland building at the northwest corner has site plans approved to build a 9,000-square-foot retail center.

On the southeast corner, the Speedway gas station is building a larger station and developer Howard Frehsee is seeking to build an adjacent 15,750-square-foot retail center retail center.

That center, Frehsee said, will include an outlot for a standalone restaurant or bank.

Those plans will be in front of the Planning Commission soon, Frehsee said, and they’ve been in the works since before the economic meltdown.

But news that Costco may be building less than a half-mile to the west is welcome, Frehsee said.

“This is a very positive thing,” he said. “It’s going to be a job creator. They’re also a first-class retailer.”

Meanwhile, the Tyner's store - formerly a Kmart - has been marketed for additional retail uses. Regional developers point to the excess parking on the property as ripe for outlot development.

Costco corporate officials have not returned calls for comment. However, new stores in other area typically have resulted in the hiring of about 150 new employees.

The hiring, the infill development and the additional tax base from the busy, well-regarded chain all make the effort by Costco to move to the Pittsfield Township location a positive move, Grewal said.

"This is a perfect example of maximizing space and doing infill development," Grewal said. "Costco ... is in line with the types of businesses we've been recruiting to increase the vitality of the State Street corridor."

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.


Sam Jones

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 1:18 p.m.

I am so happy for this. I have a Sams club not 5 minutes from my house and I still drive 30 minutes north to Brighton to go the Costco up there. This is a major win for the area.


Sat, May 1, 2010 : 8:03 a.m.

Hmm, as far as I know Tyner Furniture is doing fine (at least, I hope so as they are my favorite furniture store!) So I'm hoping CostCo moves next to Tyner, which will benefit from the extra traffic of customers.


Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 4:38 p.m.

Scio Twp board members listen to the people who vote them in. Thats a good thing. The people of scio twp did not want Cosco. Cosco fits in with the airport and the city dump better then senic views and farm land. Jobs and tax dollars are not everything. Pittsfield will approve any and all. what does that tell you.

John Q

Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 12:29 p.m.

"Scio might not have wanted Costco how Costco wanted it, BUT had they built over there the other businesses would have benefited" The same would be true if they had built in the Jackson Road corridor where Scio wants the commercial development located. Every other business had to follow the rules, why should Costco be treated differently?


Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 9:55 a.m.

@SemperFi. Meijer also bought that parcel of land like 20 years before they built anything. Scio might not have wanted Costco how Costco wanted it, BUT had they built over there the other businesses would have benefited


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 12:39 p.m.

@Jackson72 "To Semper fi: You're not even close to accurate. The Scio location was vastly superior and more convenient than the new Pittsfield Twp. location... There was no good reason for it not to have been built there, other than an overly vocal minority." To be accurate, I said the new location was more "appropriate", not "vastly superior and more convenient". The reasoning behind disallowing the proposal for the Scio Costco had everything to do with local zoning and a desire by smart growth proponents to avoid ridiculous interchanges like I-94 at A2-Saline Rd. That is a perfect example of allowing the developers to determine growth patterns. This was a well-reasoned decision to keep "big box" stores on the south side of I-94 and allow the north side to maintain a resident-friendly traffic pattern. There were numerous options for Costco along the Jackson Blvd corridor, which was designed for large retailers, but they chose to flex their muscle. When township supervisors wouldn't succumb to their demands, Costco folded their tent and left. Meijer's and Lowes had no problem working with the township and build successful stores at appropriately zoned locations along Jackson Blvd. The Scio board did what elected officials are supposed to do, speak for the people that elected them to office. The opposition to that project was vocal, but certainly not a minority. I hope that Costco is successful in their new location. I'm secure in my belief that other retailers will choose to locate on the well-planned Jackson corridor.


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 9:50 a.m.

Today's front page article (fri 4/30) has informed us that the owner of Tyner's won't sell. Well, maybe they can at least update their sign? And let the police use the parking lot as an impound lot? Then at least it would look like a going business.

Danah Greer

Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 8:14 a.m.

Yaay!! I'm so happy that Pittsfield Township is growing so well. I really made the right choice to move into the area. I have heard good things about shopping at Costco; and I look forward to my own great experience.


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 7:50 a.m.

Awesome! As a Pittsfield Twp resident unwilling to drive to the Brighton Costco, I have emailed them several times telling them what a great opportunity it would be for them to set up in our township. This is a can't-miss for them and another great supplier of quality food for us, win-win all the way.


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 7:32 a.m.

@Tru2Blue76 Some of us live south of the freeway, and will still need to drive to Costco.


Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 4:17 a.m.

For those complaining about it not being a pedestrian or bike-friendly location -- Pretty much anything you buy at Costco is too large to take home on your bike or if you're walking! Costco is not the farmer's market!!

David Briegel

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 10:24 p.m.

The worst thing about that location is two lane I-94! Parking lot at 5 and a prime example of the "legacy" of Engler. Ann Arbor should have had 3 lanes in both directions and a continuous circle route around town. Thanks to the (lack of) planners! So glad Costco is coming here and shame on Scio Twp NIMBY's for killing that location for a great company. So much better than the Walton exploiters. Better products, services, wages and benefits, policies, etc.

John Q

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 9:08 p.m.

For those who think this is a windfall for Pittsfield, you need a reality check on what retail stores like a Costco contribute to the local tax base. Local governments don't get sales tax from the store sales and because it's a large warehouse, the amount of property taxes paid by Costco is going to be a lot less than you would get from other kinds of development. I'm not trying to rain on their parade. It will contribute something. But it's not like Pittsfield is going to enjoy an influx of new tax dollars (nor did Scio any significant amount of tax dollars when they gave a thumbs-down to the previous proposal).


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:58 p.m.

"This is a perfect example of maximizing space and doing infill development... Develop non-motorized transportation in the area." Maybe Costco is a feather in Grewal's cap, but please, the planning gloss is a mite embarrassing. Costco will certainly earn the township some tax dollars and employ some locals, but let's be honest: it's a category-killing big box retailer that will be sitting in back of a massive parking lot, cannibalizing the likes of Meijer, shipping all of its money out of state, and not helping any surrounding businesses except the bank on their outlot. But look on the bright side: the opportunity to buy more in bulk will certainly do wonders for Michigan's obesity epidemic.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:55 p.m.

Costco needs to try again in Scio! We need it in the area and it tops Sam's Club/Walmart by far!


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:19 p.m.

For me I would love the location, it is in an area that I travel frequently, while Sam's Club is not. The traffic problems seem to be at times where I am never in the area. They do need to fix that light at that intersection. There have been times when the light turned green, the car in front of me went, and it was yellow before I could even enter the intersection.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:14 p.m.

Now if only we could score a Menard's.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:04 p.m.

I shop at both, but prefer Costco - especially the coupon books. Please, design the traffic flow better than the Mich Ave/State Street fiasco by Wal-Mart. That is nothing but road rage waiting to happen everyday when people go from 1 lane in each direction to 2 or 3, then back to 1. By the way - when traveling west - that is NOT a right turn lane onto State - you don't cross a solid white line drivers - i actually think it might be a breakdown lane. The lane sign shows 2 left, 1 straight and 1 straight/right. future use?


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:03 p.m.

You are all correct about the names of the restaraunts. It was "Great Lakes Shipping Co" back in the eighties, became "Tripper's" after that, was a sports bar. After that it became "Gallagher's for about 5 years and then Enzo's for about 3 years before it went belly up. Gallagher's and Tripper's were pretty good, the last two stunk. Costo rocks, another retailer choice is always good for the consumer/customer!


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:18 p.m.

YEAH!!! I love my Sams club BUT Costco has different stuff!!! they FINALLY listened to my requests!!!


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:17 p.m.

Come on Costco!


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 7:16 p.m.

I was at the Brighton store back in January, and the cashier had said 'higher ups' were in town seeking a location in the Ann Arbor area. I guess he was right. The location seems very odd for a Costco right now, but I think it will eventually help energize the area within a 1/4 mile radius of the State/Ellsworth intersection. The entire area will look drastically different (for the better) and the traffic congestion will be resolved in the next five years.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 6:20 p.m.

Yea! Finally some good news! Go Pittsfield! Love to see Costco closer than Brighton. Kudos


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 5:16 p.m.

Good news! I love to shop where the employees are paid a living wage, and their organic products are a plus!


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 4:30 p.m.

Those came after Great Lake's, both sports bars. It was tripper's second location, with the original one in East lansing I think, not sure about Gallagher's.

Paula Gardner

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

Now a colleague is telling me it also used to be Tripper's.... and maybe Gallagher's? I don't remember either of those.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 4:22 p.m.

Yep, that is right Paula, good memory.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 4:16 p.m.


Tammy Mayrend

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 4:13 p.m.

As a member that would make me VERY happy!!!

Paula Gardner

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 4:03 p.m.

The northeast corner... was it Great Lakes Shipping Co.?


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 3:54 p.m.

But can a bar/restaurant make it in that NE corner there? What was the name of the roginal tenant in that building?


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 3:38 p.m.

Maybe CostCo could buy out Tyner's? Seems like that corner needs updating. I also wonder how much business Motel 6 gets? And the former CHiChi's could be torn down, or turned into a going concern by CostCo moving in there. The little strip mall wouldn't have to be affected.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 3:37 p.m.

crossing my fingers they get approved. now if only pf chang's would follow......

John of Saline

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 3:21 p.m.

How about a decent pedestrian/bike access trail across I-94 at State St., so people in the township can get to their jobs without using a car and people in Ann Arbor can get to the new Costco without using a car? If you cross I-94 on foot or by bicycle now, your life will flash before your eyes at least once or twice during the harrowing passage... Good point. I biked to work a few times a few years back when I lived in Ann Arbor. I went past the State Street I-94 crossing to the Stone School one because Stone School has a separate pedestrian bridge that makes crossing safe. I see bikers occasionally try to negotiate the State Street crossing, but it's really dangerous.

John Alan

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:57 p.m.

Scio Township is not going to get anywhere. They have been driving everyone away and I am sre they will see the results --- it may take time but they will sink in the mess that they have created there. There are not many investors that are willing to invest in Scio Township. It is good to see that Pittsfield is open to job ceation and improvment which causes a win-win for everyone...


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:51 p.m.

To bad Scio Township didn't have enough sence to let Costco come in. They could have put them on the corner of Baker Rd & Jackson Rd for a perfect location to I-94. They seem to want to drive business away along with a tax base and jobs. Every builder and Company hates Scio for there unwillingness to get something done is this township


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:47 p.m.

I'm looking forward to trying it. I've heard lots of good things.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:39 p.m.

Living in pittsfield this is good news to us. Hopefully the township works well with CostCo to make this happen and get CostCo to pay part of the much needed upgrades to State and Ellsworth.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:19 p.m.

Oh yes! Now I won't have to keep driving all the way up to Brighton.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:17 p.m.

Doesn't Costco have limited operating hours, something like a 10:00am opening time on weekdays (and weekends)? If so, this location will not pose any traffic issues during morning work commutes. I'm sure things like this are what the traffic planners look at in their studies.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:14 p.m.

@Steve Ranzini: In my Costco shopping experiences (only going there for a couple of things), you will need really large baskets or be pulling a bike trailer when you leave Costco with your purchases. :D


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:13 p.m.

Thank you Costco. I really hope you bring this project to Pittsfield Township. We will be grateful for the construction jobs it will bring.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:10 p.m.

Most excellent! I won't have to go to Livonia to shop at Costco. I don't shop at any Walton owned businesses, so this is a good thing. I like this location better, since it's closer to me and others who live on the Ypsilanti side of things.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:09 p.m.

Excellent! I love shopping at Costco...and they are lightyears better than the Eville Sam's and Wallmart.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:09 p.m.

I work at Borders HQ and traffic in this area is already terrible, especially during rush hour(s). I seriously hope this would be considered and improved. Ellsworth is a two lane street and the back-ups are ridiculous already! The additional traffic from a Costco would likely make the commute for many people in this corridor worse.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 2:04 p.m.

I support their plans to open a store in Pittsfield Township, but not at that location. The State/Ellsworth intersection is congested as it is, and this would only make it worse, particuarly if access to/from this big box store is via Ellsworth (which is only one lane in each direction).


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:51 p.m.



Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

Cool! I'm really happy to have a Costco closer to Ann Arbor. Too bad they couldn't put it in along the Jackson Road corridor, but this is way better than nothing. State Street is a huge mess in that area. Something will definitely have to be done with the traffic that this will create. That area can't handle the traffic they have today. Thanks to the township for putting out the welcome mat!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:47 p.m.

"While the store is likely to significantly boost traffic in the corridor, the township also will seek to develop non-motorized transportation in the vicinity, Grewal said." How about a decent pedestrian/bike access trail across I-94 at State St., so people in the township can get to their jobs without using a car and people in Ann Arbor can get to the new Costco without using a car? If you cross I-94 on foot or by bicycle now, your life will flash before your eyes at least once or twice during the harrowing passage...


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:43 p.m.

I would like to thank the Vocal minority of people in Scio twp. who opposed Costco's plans to build a warehouse N. of I-94 in their twp. Although Costco had intended to build a new and modern facility, and develop the nearby land into a beautiful ball park, the citizens of Scio were opposed because of congestion, etc., so Costco saw the Unwelcome signs and walked. Scio twp. apparently like the McDonalds, BigBoys, Traverse City Pie Co. mall, and the other business traffic instead. So now Costco will build closer to my home which will be very convenient. Thanks to Pittsfield Twp., and a special thanks to Scio Twp.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:40 p.m.

What exactly does this mean:. "While the store is likely to significantly boost traffic in the corridor, the township also will seek to develop non-motorized transportation in the vicinity, Grewal said.". I suppose it could mean a nice set of sidewalks, or perhaps carriage rides along the runways at the airport.......


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:40 p.m.

I bet the County is wishing they had that $750K per year that Costco was going to pay to lease that land in Scio twp. while there will be no money for roads in this, hope Pittsfield is smart enough to get the sales tax revenue and jobs that will come with this.

Phyllis Grech

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:34 p.m.

Pittsfield Township's gain is Scio Township's loss. It's about time Scio stepped into the 21st century regarding development.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:34 p.m.

Only 7 new stores nationally in 2010 and the only one in Michigan will be in Pittsfield? Pretty impressive. Maybe this deal will be the spark our local economy needs. Sure would like to see that Lohr-Textile greenway trail expanded to include Ellsworth. Sounds like it now might be possible.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:32 p.m.

The Ellsworth/State intersection will need to undergo the same kind of makeover that the State/Mich Ave. intersection in Saline did in order to accommodate Wal-Mart. Right now, the intersection is maxed out.. For what it's worth, Costco is a welcome retail addition - if it's done in a thoughtful, sensible manner.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:32 p.m.

To Semper fi: You're not even close to accurate. The Scio location was vastly superior and more convenient than the new Pittsfield Twp. location, as there was already a light at the I-94 / Zeeb ramp. Traffic would have simply been able to go directly across Zeeb from the I-94 ramp to the proposed Costco or turn in off of Zeeb which is a five lane road. There was no good reason for it not to have been built there, other than an overly vocal minority. Although I'm not crazy about the new location, I'm just happy that Costco is coming back to Ann Arbor. They will do very well here.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:23 p.m.

I went to their store in troy and was not too impressed. I doubt I would be a regular, but I welcome the development.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:18 p.m.

Bravo!! Kudos to Ms. Mandy Grewal and Pittsfield Township for bringing in a good corporate citizen. I wish that Costco would have located in the northern part of Ann Arbor but understand that this location is probably more strategic. My area is probably too close to Brighton. Looks like Pittsfield will benefit from a significant tax base increase at a time when all local governments need it, but hail to the victors. Pittsfield seems to be doing extremely well under Grewal. Now watch for the spill-over benefits of other businesses wanting to locate nearby - probably clearing out any existing vacancy within a one-mile radius. I gotta think that Costco will pony-up and do their part to alleviate traffic problems. They certainly take care of their employees. A win-win for everybody in this township.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:17 p.m.

I would love it if Costco came to Ann Arbor. So often I have asked someone 'where did you get that?' and they've told me Costco. I hope it works out, and quick!

Momma G

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.

Yes!!!!! Please let this happen. We've been waiting forever to have a Costco in immediate area.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:05 p.m.

I hope this is the case. I would love to have Costco as an option to go to instead of Sam's. I just hope it doesn't take forever to construct.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:04 p.m.

It appears that Costco has chosen a more appropriate site for this proposal. The site in Scio happened to be on the wrong side(north) of the freeway. Stopping that development was the right choice for Scio residents. It was a loss for Costco by not choosing a site on the Jackson Blvd corridor.


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 1:03 p.m.

YES! Finally! I hope they get approved. I still have environmental issues with Sam's Club...


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 12:59 p.m.

that area is already crazy driving. Scio really messed up, the location they wanted before at 94 and zeeb would have been better for Scio as far as jobs and for the other businesses. That area over on state is already congested (and ugly)


Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 12:58 p.m.

I hope Pittsfield is not as foolish as Scio - please DO NOT drive Costco away