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Posted on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

Costco gets rezoning approval for new Pittsfield Township store

By Lizzy Alfs


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

File photo |

Pittsfield Township’s Board of Trustees today voted to approve a rezoning request that sets the stage for retailer Costco to build a new store near the corner of State and Ellsworth.

The board, with one member absent, unanimously approved Costco's request and a two-year master plan revision at a special meeting.

The approval of Costco's rezoning request was the biggest hurdle for the retailer, which is now free to submit a final site plan to the Pittsfield Township Planning Commission.

After the final site plan is approved, construction could start quickly — and the store could be open by spring 2012, Pittsfield Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal said.

“I think they’re going to begin preliminary site preparation work pretty much right away,” she said.

Costco wants to redevelop 17 acres along Ellsworth west of South State. The chain plans to build a 148,000-square-foot store with 720 parking spaces and a gasoline station.

Local developer Jake Haas owns the property where the Costco will be built. To make room for the warehouse, several industrial park buildings will be demolished and tenants relocated.

Jack Frank, Costco vice president, previously said the store is expected to have between 200 and 250 employees, about half full-time and half part-time.

The board had given the rezoning request preliminary approval in June.

To set the stage for the rezoning request's final approval, Pittsfield had to approve a master plan revision, Grewal said.

“The reasoning behind that is that the Pittsfield Township board has frowned upon doing rezonings,” Grewal said. “We adhere closely to what’s in our planning books and the Costco use will be consistent with our new plan.”

The master plan identifies six commercial districts in the township where retail uses will be concentrated, acting as a blueprint for future development in the Pittsfield area. The Costco site is located within one of these six districts.

Plans for the store were first proposed in April 2010. Before finding the site in Pittsfield Township, Costco pulled out of a deal to build its first Washtenaw County location in Scio Township in 2006. The chain withdrew the proposal after a large group of Scio residents raised concerns about the development.

Grewal said it has been a “slow, deliberate process,” to bring Costco to the area, but she said feedback on the development has been positive throughout the last year.

“Thus far, there has been very positive feedback from the community,” she said. “Folks are happy with it.”

“We envision a very vibrant community, and I think this project speaks really well to our vision of the community as we move forward.”

Costco is the largest membership warehouse chain in the United States with headquarters in Issaquah, Wa. The chain's closest stores are located in Brighton, two in Livonia and one in Commerce Township.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Lizzy Alfs

Fri, Jul 29, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

This story has been updated to add that Costco withdrew its proposal to build in Scio Township in 2006 after a large group of residents raised concerns about the development.


Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 5:53 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;If you are interested in employment at one of Costco's new locations that is still under construction, you should be able to apply online approximately 12 weeks prior to opening.&quot;


Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

Good! How soon can I apply? I need a job


Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 12:11 p.m.

What a great moment. I often drive 30 plus miles to get certain items at Costco. Now in the future I will only have to drive 5 miles. Pittsfield Township officials did the right thing, unlike Scio Township. Their loss is your gain.

Robert D. Mosley

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 4:53 a.m.

This is great news for those in Ann Arbor. I love Costco and the ways it treats its workers. And, congrats to Costco indeed for having gone through all of the hurdles to do this.

Sam Jones

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 2:14 a.m.

This is so great. Now I get to A) cancel my Sam's Club membership and B) stop having to drive to Brighton for good stuff. Also good jobs are coming :)


Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 2:13 a.m.

YEAH! open tomorrow! Green oaks twp. just is getting dul!


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 11:44 p.m.

Awesome. We like Costco much better than Sams Club, and now we don't have to drive to Livonia at the holidays to shop the awesome seasonal seafood counter they set up. Maybe some competitive pricing with Meijers being so close in proximity too.

Dog Guy

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

Perhaps the heroes who kept Costco out of Scio Twp. will now step forward to be recognized.

Basic Bob

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 11:28 p.m.

&quot;The reasoning behind that is that the Pittsfield Township board has frowned upon doing rezonings&quot; Mandy, you need to frown a little harder if you want us to believe you opposed rezoning for Costco.

Les Gov

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 10:50 p.m.

Unreal.....16 months. It took 16 months for a national store to get approval in a very poor economy. 250 workers had to wait 16 months, not to mention the construction jobs. Why the delay? A master plan that didn't impact this site. Costco got just about what they first asked for. Odds are this so called master plan will be replaced when the next group of individuals are elected. This is proof our government is too big.....and too intrusive.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

Exactly my point, BB. The township did due diligence. Good Night and Good Luck

Basic Bob

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 9:59 a.m.

&quot;traffic gridlock with ugly strip mall after ugly strip mall&quot; There are serious concerns about traffic on South State, especially as it abruptly narrows at the airport. And what about that lightly used former big box store on the corner (Tyner)? It gives them a big jump on blight already. It's hard to say what this area will look like in twenty or thirty years. Will we have acres of vacant pole buildings and mangy out lots?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 12:13 a.m.

Yes. Much better that they speed up the process and permit development of the township helter skelter so that it will look like Washtenaw Ave--traffic gridlock with ugly strip mall after ugly strip mall, many of them half empty. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 10:16 p.m.

Rome was still built in less time than this process.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

This shows a big difference between Pittsfield ans Scio. Costco came to both and made a pitch for a new store. Pittsfield said they would work with Costco to find a plan that works for both sides and kept the lines of communication open. Scio township said they should take a hike. Sounds like the one that closed the deal is a bit more progressive and forward-thinking. Best part of the whole thing is the spill-over benefits that the rest of Pittsfield will eventually benefit from.

Monica R-W

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 9:55 p.m.

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH! This will bring jobs, paying decent wages/benefits into our community. Good job Pittsfield Board of Trustees! Now where can people apply for the jobs!


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

Oh great another corprate big box store selling imported goods.

Hot Sam

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

You should take some time and learn about may like the way they do business...


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

While formerly not a big fan of Costco, I recently joined to buy eyeglasses. Boy, what a deal, $130 for progressive lenses with anti-reflective coating! No one is that cheap, and the lenses are name brand and work great. WIth their lower-priced gas, a membership can be easily paid for on gas alone. Now, with them locating so much closer, I will shop at Costco more often.

Jake C

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

I dunno about the lower-priced gas part, I regularly found gas for cheaper within a 5-minute drive of the Brighton Costco store.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 7:19 p.m.

....and one in Toledo :)


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

So soon? More time should be taken to decide and nitpick.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

Yeah!!! Congratulations to Costco and congratulations to Pittsfield Township too. Glad Pittsfield didn't bow to the trigger happy nonresidents that would have accepted any plan at any cost. Township taxpayers expect you to thoroughly vet everything. These things take time to get right and you did it! Sorry Scio Township - lesson learned?


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

It's about time, it's only taken over a year. To bad Scio didn't have the good sence to let them build in Scio. They could have worked something out they didn't want to. Scio can say all they want but they didn't want Costco. They lost out on jobs, oh yes taxes. That's what makes me the maddest. Our taxes keep going up every year because they can't pay the fire dept. Hopefully in the near future you people on the board will get a brain and start thinking about letting businesses come in so it will take the burden off the people

Jake C

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 9:24 p.m.

I wouldn't say Scio Township &quot;lost out on jobs&quot;... potential workers could commute the roughly 10-minute drive from Scio Township to Pittsfield Township, right?

Saline PL

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

Congrats to Costco for having gone through the roadblocks and minefields put there by these self centered bureaucrats. Just imagine if they really cared for the community they serve. No wait, don't go to where no one has gone before.

G. Orwell

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

For once I agree with Edward. Costco will be at this location for decades. You want to get the details right the first time or you will have problems. There are numerous issue to consider for such a large development. A few months delay is well worth the required due diligence.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

MY township board did exactly what they were supposed to do: they exercised due diligence, making certain that road networks can support expected traffic volume at an already crowded intersection, making certain that yet another portion of Pittsfield Township doesn't end up like Washtenaw or Carpenter. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

I still can't picture where Costco would be located. Which corner would it be going?


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 7:22 p.m.

Pittsfield Twp has proposed that entire corner to become more urban, with multistory buildings, facades street side, and more of a urban feel. This is all assuming Ann Arbor would not annex. Kudos for Pittsfield Twp for pushing commercial growth into sectors, instead of allowing suburban sprawl that killed Detroit and other cities.

Kent Jocque

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 6:41 p.m.

North of Ellsworth across from the Ann Arbor airport. Behind the Tyner Furniture store.