State confirms Costco is negotiating land lease in Richland
Costco is eyeing Richland for a possible second Tri-Cities location.
The retail giant has submitted a letter of interest for about 28 acres of state trust land in the Queensgate area, and negotiations for a potential lease are underway, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed.
That doesn’t mean a Costco is certain to be built on the former orchard property near Target — far from it. However, it does seem to indicate that it’s at least a possibility.
Costco itself isn’t sharing details about its plans for the Tri-Cities.
Asked about a potential new Costco in Richland or Pasco, a spokesman said the company had no information to provide.
A second Tri-City store isn’t on Costco’s list of locations coming soon.
Hollie Alexander, Richland’s communications and marketing manager, said the city is “aware of preliminary traffic documents (prepared to assess potential impacts of a Costco in the area) but unaware of conversations (Costco is) having with the property owner, so we don’t have any other comment at this time.”
The Richland property was among millions of acres granted to Washington by Congress at statehood to provide revenue for K-12 school construction.
The state trust land “was most recently managed as an orchard, but as Richland and West Richland grew to surround it, the parcel became more valuable for development,” said Kenny Ocker, a communications manager for DNR. “We spent years working with the prior lessee and the city to ensure a seamless transition as the lease expired, and the parcel was rezoned for a variety of developments, including commercial, residential and open space zoning.”
Ocker noted that DNR has a duty as a trust manager to “manage lands for the highest and best use for their designated beneficiaries.”
However, Tim Ufkes of Marcus & Millichap, who represents the property owner, told the Journal that there’s no contract with Costco, although “we have hopes (they’ll) come back to the table and locate a new store in the development.”
There’s certainly seems to be demand for another Costco in the Tri-Cities.
The Kennewick location, which is in the midst of a multimillion remodel, draws about 80,000 to 100,000 shoppers a week and employs about 530 people.
The remodeling work at the store at 8505 W. Gage Blvd. includes replacing the refrigeration system and giving the “freshline” departments an overhaul.
The price tag is about $3.3 million, plus $1 million in plumbing work.