Costco deal rolls on |

Costco deal rolls on

Amanda Hammon

Carson City officials on Thursday asked Costco officials not to go shopping for another site.

The request came in the city’s response to the company’s letter of intent to build a warehouse store on 15 acres at Fuji Park. If Costco officials accept, it will put the city and Costco in exclusive negotiations with each other.

Costco’s letter had a provision that the city couldn’t negotiate with a third party as long as there are negotiations with Costco. City Manager John Berkich said the city added a clause that Costco couldn’t negotiate with anyone else as long as negotiations were proceeding in good faith.

Costco doesn’t want other companies bidding for the site, and Carson City doesn’t want the retailing giant to locate in another county because of the sales-tax revenue it would provide.

Berkich said the city agreed to all Costco’s previous requests, including acquisition of Clear Creek Road from the state and acquisition of U.S. Forest Service land.

The letter of intent from the warehouse company is a precursor to a purchase sales agreement. Berkich said the letters aren’t legally binding, but they are a step toward sale of the city-owned property to Costco.

“I think it formalizes the sincere and serious commitment by both parties to engage in negotiations for a formal agreement,” Berkich said.

Talks with Costco officials will continue next week. City supervisors will consider adding the 15-acre proposed Costco site north of Fuji Park to the city’s redevelopment district, which would allow the city to negotiate with one company rather than going through a public bid process.

The land addition has been approved by several city committees including the Redevelopment Authority and the Regional Planning Commission. Thursday’s supervisor meeting will be the last chance for residents to comment formally on the proposed transfer.

“The issue is scheduled for Thursday evening and will allow any of those who want to take issue with it to come forward at that point,” Berkich said. “It’s the last opportunity to do that prior to putting the land in the redevelopment district.”

Costco plans to build a 145,000-square-foot warehouse and gas station at the site. Costco will meet Jan. 18 with city community development, utility and development services staff to review the project. The review will allow city staff to see what plans Costco has for the site as well as begin to identify some challenges the site may present.

Redevelopment Director Rob Joiner said U. S. Forest Service officials agreed to allow three acres necessary to Costco’s development to be added to the redevelopment district. The land will go through the same process as the 15 acres, starting with advisory committees, before heading to the redevelopment authority on Jan. 20 and the planning commission on Jan. 26. The city is still seeking a special use permit for the property which would allow improvements to the site.

City supervisors will also have to decide Thursday whether the change of land use at the proposed Costco site will adversely affect business.

Joiner said a law created by the 1999 Legislature requires that impacts on businesses be examined whenever a city changes an ordinance. While he said he can’t prove what affect Costco would have on local businesses, Joiner is convinced the land change and Costco addition will benefit the city.

“Obviously this is a boon to business,” he said. “It presents an advantage to all the business in the region because it’s going to bring direct revenue in terms of employment and the sales tax base, plus other vendors and suppliers will follow.”

Supervisors will also discuss Thursday accepting Clear Creek Road from the state. The State Transportation Board is tentatively set to decide Jan. 21 on transferring about a half a mile of road to Carson City if supervisors approve the idea.