1. Business

Costco targets summer 2016 opening in Lutz

The Costco in Cypress Creek Town Center is expected to open in late summer.
The Costco in Cypress Creek Town Center is expected to open in late summer.
Published Dec. 10, 2015

LUTZ — Retail shopping opportunities aren't slowing down in central Pasco.

Membership warehouse Costco Wholesale now says it is targeting a late summer opening for its store in the Cypress Creek Town Center. Tampa attorney Grace H. Yang, representing Costco in a zoning issue, provided that time line to the Pasco County Planning Commission last week during a meeting at the West Pasco Government Center in New Port Richey.

The store, at 2225 Grand Cypress Drive, will be 600 feet south of State Road 56 and west of the recently opened Tampa Premium Outlets mall near the Interstate 75 interchange in Lutz. Costco and developer the Jacobs Group of Cleveland filed preliminary plans with the county a year ago, and its applications are weaving their way through the permitting process.

The nearly 155,000-square-foot store will be immediately south of the Culver's and Cheddar's Casual Cafe restaurants now under construction on Sun Vista Drive. Two other restaurants, Chick-fil-A and Panda Express, also are planned for north of the Costco site.

The Planning Commission, an advisory board to county commissioners, last week recommended a permit for Costco to sell beer and wine in its main store and to allow package sales in an adjoining liquor store that will have a separate entrance. The alcohol sales permit, known -tional use and colloquially as wet zoning, is scheduled to be considered by the Pasco County Commission on Jan. 12.

According to a site plan filed with the county, the main wholesale store will consist of 152,636 feet of space, with the liquor store, adjacent to the front entrance, accounting for an additional 2,136 square feet. The store will include an area for tire sales, a gas station and parking for 673 vehicles on 17 acres.

Costco currently operates in nine countries and has 474 stores in the United States, including two locations in the Tampa Bay area — Brandon and Clearwater.

Planning Commission member Peter Hanzel of Wesley Chapel inquired about the opening date, saying he was relaying the sentiments of his son-in-law, who drives to the Costco store in Brandon.

"He's been on my back about that (opening) for a long time," Hanzel said.

The Costco site is owned the Jacobs Group, one of three entities developing the 540-acre town center. Simon Properties just opened the outlet mall, and Sierra Properties of Tampa is developing the remaining 240 acres traversed by State Road 56.

Costco will be in close proximity to two competitors. Further east on SR 56 sits a Sam's Club, at the front of the Seven Oaks development, and BJ's Wholesale Club is just one I-75 exit to the south on Commerce Palms Drive in New Tampa.