SEE LATEST UPDATE 11-16-2011 HERE.
This is an update to an earlier post about the opening of a new Sarasota Costco. The original post is attached in the following link: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1819629/costco-in-sarasota-florida
It looks as if the plans for the long awaited Sarasota Costco store will be delayed even further due to an unknown snag in the permiting or building plans. Please keep checking back for more information regarding the Sarasota Costco opening.
SARASOTA COUNTY - When Bob Goodman was deciding between Sarasota and Deerfield Beach for a second home to escape harsh Nebraska winters, one factor tipped the scales in Southwest Florida's favor: Sarasota Square Mall was getting a Costco Warehouse store.
In June, Goodman and his wife closed on a home in Palmer Ranch — just a few miles from where the discount retailer is slated to replace a derelict Dillard's.
Turns out, though, that Goodman — who says he ventures to an Omaha Costco about five times a week to buy everything from tires to groceries, grab a hot dog for lunch or just walk — will have to wait until at least late 2012 for his favorite store to open here.
Costco and Westfield Corp., owner of the three malls the discount retailer has committed to here, in Los Angeles and Wheaton, Md., have hit a few snags in the months since they agreed to long-term leases late in 2010.
A senior Costco executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Thursday the retailer still needs to work out those issues before moving forward.
Costco, the nation's third-largest retailer, had originally hoped to open its 145,000-square-foot Sarasota store at 8201 S. Tamiami Trail late this year. The closest site is now Brandon, roughly 45 miles away from Sarasota.
Though the executive declined to discuss details, he said the snags "could be" potentially threatening to the deals, though they are expected to be settled in the next month.
If Costco does go forward, it would likely transform the mall shopping experience in Sarasota and elsewhere.
Retail analysts like Howard Davidowitz, chairman of New York-based Davidowitz & Co., contend that the discount retailer will bring tens of thousands of new shoppers to Westfield's properties and breathe renewed life into centers many consider to be outdated modes of shopping because of growing online sales.
Westfield's Sarasota Square mall is a 900,000-square-foot center anchored by Macy's, Sears, J.C. Penney, a movie theater and 140 other stores. Dillard's left in 2009 amid weakening sales.
In at least one of the planned Costco stores outside Florida, zoning has stalled pre-construction work, sources familiar with the Costco-Westfield negotiations have been told.
Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco and Westfield, one of the largest shopping center owners in the U.S., would like to open the three new stores at the same time.
Costco now operates 587 warehouse-style stores worldwide, which generate roughly $80 billion in annual sales.
Westfield representatives downplayed any turmoil with Costco. "No construction or opening schedule has yet been announced, but we're commencing with pre-development activity and we look forward to welcoming Costco to our malls," said Catharine Dickey, a Westfield executive vice president.
Construction, if it begins, is expected to take a year to complete.
Westfield received a 90-day demolition permit from Sarasota County in March and had planned to begin work in early July, but failed to raze the former Dillard's. It is unclear whether the issues between the two companies contributed to that.
County officials, meanwhile, said the Westfield permit has been extended and that other construction requirements have been met.
"Westfield's permits have been issued and extended through regular mechanisms," said Mark Suffoletto, a plan review supervisor with Sarasota County. "We want this to happen. It's important to us."
Goodman, the Nebraska snowbird, already is shopping the Omaha Costco for furniture to put in his Palmer Ranch home. He expects people in Sarasota, like those in Omaha, to embrace the discounter.
"I think Sarasota will go crazy over it," said Goodman, who retired after 15 years at Goodwill Industries in Nebraska. "I just love it. It's cool what you can get at Costco — and their hot dog and a pop has been $1.50 since they opened. Where else can you get that?"
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