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Costco plans on new Woodbury location -- but where?

Wholesale retailer Costco is eyeing a spot in Woodbury, according to city officials and representatives who manage the company’s real estate site selection activities.

Woodbury Community Development Director Dwight Picha said the developers requested a meeting with the city’s planning department next week to fill them in on the site they’re planning to acquire.

Costco has been trying to find a site for 14 years, Picha said, but has never submitted an official proposal.

Michael Startis of Intrepid Properties, Inc., an Illinois-based company that manages Costco real estate development, told the City Council in an email that after years of attempting to secure a location in Woodbury, “we believe we have found such a site and would like to bring forth an application.”

Costco corporate officials declined to comment on the site location or provide any additional details of the plans.

“Our corporate policy is to not comment on specific markets,” Jeff Brotman, chairman and cofounder of Costco, said in a statement.

According to the email sent to City Council, which is public, Costco counts 2,700 households in Woodbury as card members.

The majority of local members drive to Maplewood or Eden Prairie, Stratis wrote, however some frequent other markets as well.

“We are hopeful that we can provide them a local option,” he added.

Picha said it will take a significant amount of time to get through the application process before it goes to City Council for approval, typically between three to six months.

The preliminary process for any retailer looking to join Woodbury involves multiple conversations with staff to hash out details before discussions at the council level begin.

Council Member Paul Rebholz said many residents have voiced their opinions over the years advocating for the city to work with Costco to bring a store here.

“From my perspective, the message is we certainly are very interested in hearing more about what their plans are,” Rebholz said. “As more of the details become finalized would be when it would begin something the council would be briefed on. In general we don’t discuss things until a formal application is made.”

Though it’s unclear where in Woodbury the company’s proposal for a Costco will be, Picha said it will have to be a site in need of a zoning change request.

“There really isn’t anything in the retail area,” he said, “They’re probably looking at sites that are going to need some type of use change. Most of the retail sites in Woodbury are currently developed.”

In 2011, Wellington Management Inc., proposed redeveloping the former State Farm Insurance headquarters to include a Costco in the 420,000 square foot office building located off of Interstate 94 and Radio Drive.

But Wellington never submitted an official application for the project. State Farm still owns and maintains the property today.

Picha said he doesn’t suspect the new proposal will be to redevelop the State Farm campus, since the land is zoned for office operations, not shopping or retail.

“It’s probably not going to be part of that,” he said. “It just doesn’t fit on there. State Farm building is in the center of that site.”

The potential to bring a Costco store to Woodbury is appealing to the city as it is one of the few Fortune 500 retailers that still doesn’t have a location in the city, Picha said.

“We’re gratified that Woodbury continues to be a desired community for businesses like Costco to locate,” he added.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.