Future of Costco in doubt

There is a strong possibility Costco may not be coming to Kaua’i, or at least not in the form it was originally planned.

Construction was to have begun last month on a 15-acre plot next to and including a portion of The Home Depot site.

“What happened was, after we put it out to bid, the bids (from construction companies) came in 30 percent higher than anticipated. Unless that comes down, things are not going forward,” said Costco Wholesale Corp. Chairman Jeff Brotman.

“It’s not dead, but it is on life-support,” he said, giving no time frame for what the company has in mind.

Brotman said the bidders were representatives of both Mainland and Hawai’i companies. He said Costco officials have enough experience in the state to know the bids were uniformly high.

“This was way over the top,” he said.

“We were stunned by the numbers. We couldn’t believe they were justified,” he said, adding that company executives are disappointed at the turn of events.

Brotman said Costco leaders were going to regroup and see what they could do to bring it into their budget range.

“It could be a bit smaller,” he said. Brotman said this would not entail removing the self-serve gasoline station planned at the store.

In May, members of the Kaua’i Planning Commission unanimously approved zoning permits to allow a new Costco warehouse and gas station at Kukui Grove Village West, in the site where the Kukui Grove park and pavilion is now.

Costco Wholesale Warehouse leaders were required, however, to meet certain conditions, including making traffic improvements in the area, abiding by recommendations made by officials with state and county agencies, and following an original landscaping and lighting plan.

County planning officials could not be reached for comment Monday.

The original plan called for a 150,000-square-foot supply store and a self-service gas station. The site was expected to have eight entrances and exits, from Kalepa, Nuhou, and Ulu Maika streets.

Costco leaders had proposed to have both the gas station and warehouse facility opened for business by the end of this year.

Costco officials were also required to have a traffic plan approved by officials with the state Department of Transportation Highways Division and the county Department of Public Works, to minimize traffic delays around the store.

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