Costco set to open in 2015
The Stonefield Shops have quickly become the centrally located shopping center to visit with the popularity of now having the only movie theatre around (until the Downtown Mall one reopens after renovations), plenty of speciality shops and eateries, and everyone’s favorite – Trader Joe’s.
With the opening of Costco later this year, the warehouse club market will surely heat up. The closest Costco to Charlottesville has been in Harrisonburg, with other locations in Glen Allen, Fredericksburg, Chesterfield and Manassas. The 14.7-acre Costco parcel was created in 1999 when Sperry Marine subdivided 82 acres of property.
Costco’s products and services include such typical grocery store offerings as fresh produce, meat and dairy; clothing, household goods and furniture; and automotive and pharmacy services.
According to the company website, the “first location, opened in 1976 under the Price Club name, was in a converted airplane hangar on Morena Boulevard in San Diego… In 1983, the first Costco warehouse location was opened in Seattle. Costco became the first company ever to grow from zero to $3 billion in sales in less than six years.
“When Costco and Price Club merged in 1993, the combined company, operating under the name PriceCostco, had 206 locations generating $16 billion in annual sales. Since resuming the Costco name in 1997, the company has grown worldwide with total sales in recent fiscal years exceeding $64 billion.”
There have been local discussions about the traffic impact of Costco – the planned building will be 148,000-square-feet, along with a 16-pump gas station.
Costco spokesman Jeff Rudder said, in a Daily Progress interview almost a year ago, the store’s traffic impact should be “manageable. Part of the reason,” he said, “is Costco’s operating hours. Although the Stonefield store’s hours are not yet set, in general … Costco does not open before 9:30 a.m. and closes by 8:30 p.m.”
Albemarle County Supervisor Brad Sheffield, who represents the Rio District, said, however, in the same Daily Progress interview, that “the big-box store is ‘out of place’ for Stonefield’s character, which was designed with a focus on walkability and density.
“Sheffield, who took office after the project was approved, said he would have asked for a comparison of how traffic may have differed if more, smaller stores were built instead of one large store. ‘In terms of the end result, I feel there will additional traffic impacts, and I do not feel the current traffic design is prepared to handle that level of traffic flow.’”
Costco is expected to add around 200 jobs to the local market. It remains to be seen, however, how an already busy intersection at Hydraulic and Rt. 29 will absorb its arrival. Stay tuned.