Webster will invest $6.2 million for site improvements and other area development to facilitate the opening of Costco Wholesale, which marks the biggest retail project in the city’s history.
The investment in site and drainage improvements, instead of direct tax abatements that are typical in luring coveted retailers, is part of a commitment Webster made to Costco to accommodate the 158,000-square-foot store, city officials said. Costco is scheduled to open by the end of the year and said it would employ as many as 250 people.
The Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco manages an international chain of membership warehouses, selling brand name merchandise at prices strikingly lower than conventional retail stores. Costco sells items like groceries, spirits, hardware, tires, apparel, electronics and more. The store, which is in Harris County, will likely lure hundreds of shoppers from Galveston County.
Improvements call for Genesis Boulevard, scheduled to be completed later this year, to feature 2,500 linear feet of new roadway, which extends to West NASA Parkway/FM 528 at Odyssey Park, all the way to Jasmine Avenue and the Interstate 45 feeder road, city officials said. The new road projects will allow for additional development west of I-45 in the future and is welcome by other developers.
“If anything, it definitely helps the transportation,” said Ross Wycoff, a principal with Webster-based Wycoff Development and Construction, which specializes in building business parks. “In general, the roads will alleviate some of the traffic congestion and help business.”
Costco plans to build on the west side of I-45, on the south side of Baybrook Commons, where Star Furniture and Holiday Inn Express and Suites are tenants. The development will include a 24-pump gas station with an 8,127-square-foot canopy, city officials said.
This area will be considerably upgraded by added detention ponds that will help with stormwater and drainage, Economic Development Director Betsy Giusto said.
“During Hurricane Harvey, the Costco site fared beautifully,” she said. “Site improvements with Costco will absolutely alleviate flooding issues.”
There also will be 22 street trees alongside planned Jasmine Avenue, which will surpass the minimum number required by the vegetation ordinance and also help with stormwater, Giusto said.
The Webster Economic Development Corp. deemed infrastructure as a prerequisite for growth and supporting economic strength, Mayor Donna Rogers said.
“The new artery touts streetlights, sidewalks and landscaping and includes the reconfigured traffic signal at NASA Parkway,” she said.
The main aspects of the site improvements will include water, wastewater and storm sewer, Rogers said.
“Project Genesis was created to ignite new development on the city’s west side,” she said. “Genesis Boulevard runs parallel to Interstate 45 and opens up commercial development within the city’s northwest quadrant by providing access, exposure and mobility, along with city utilities.”