Wednesday, December 13, 2017
News Roundup

Costco plots a spot across from Westchase

WESTCHASE — A developer has unveiled plans to build a Costco at Sheldon Road and W Linebaugh Avenue, sparking some concerns among neighbors.

Slated for the southeast corner of the intersection, the 155,000-square-foot membership-only warehouse would be directly across from the entrance to Westchase.

"We are worried about aesthetics and traffic," said Joaquin Arrillaga, chairman of a committee formed by the Westchase Community Association to address the project. "We don't want something too industrial as the entrance to our community."

Developers M&M Realty Partners and JMP Holdings, both based in New Jersey, have met with members of the community once and plan to meet again in the coming weeks, Arrillaga said.

"We are very grateful having M&M approach us and allowing us to voice our concerns to them," Arrillaga said, "but we have not formed a decision yet as to whether we are for or against the project."

The land is zoned for mixed use, though the project still requires approval by Hillsborough County before construction can begin, said Ron Weaver, an attorney for both developers.

Developers are under contract for about 30 acres that include 19 property owners, Weaver said. If approved, construction could begin in the next few months and would take about a year to complete. There would also be room for four outparcels.

Concerns about traffic congestion top the community's list, though the focus is on nearby Citrus Park Drive, Arrillaga said.

"We believe that most of our traffic concerns would be alleviated with the expansion of Citrus Park Road," he said. "It's way past due, and it doesn't have to do with just this project."

In an effort to allay those concerns, construction plans include five access points and positioning the building off the main roads and back toward Old Linebaugh Avenue. Developers are seeking a traffic signal at Sheldon and Old Linebaugh, Weaver said.

He added that the store would not open until 10:30 a.m., meaning it would not add to morning rush hour traffic.

If approved, this would be the third Costco in the Tampa Bay area. The others are in Brandon and Clearwater.

"This area is underserved, creating a great need for this kind of high-end product," Weaver said.

And it would bring jobs. Costco employees make an average of $21 an hour, he said.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3401.

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