IDAHO FALLS — Costco is coming to Idaho Falls.
It was revealed recently at an Idaho Falls City Council meeting that the retail giant, which had long evaded Idaho Falls, despite widespread support for a local store, is finally moving to the area.
The store, which will include a retail warehouse and gas station, will be located on a nearly 18-acre parcel at the northwest corner of East Lincoln Road and Hitt Road. The city annexed the land last year.
Construction will begin in September and the store is expected to open in August 2020.
Costco, which typically chooses locations near interstates, did not want to be near the interstate in Idaho Falls because it could “cannibalize” the Pocatello location, according to Dana Briggs, Idaho Falls’ economic development director.
“They chose the northeast area of town to not only serve Idaho Falls people but those north communities,” Briggs said. “Rexburg, Rigby, Jackson, (Wyo.), Swan Valley, all of those, and the homes in that area.”
The company’s interest in the Idaho Falls area, in 2012, sparked the City Council to pass an economic development incentive program, which became known as the “Costco ordinance,” to make the city more attractive to big businesses that, in turn, could give a boost to the local economy.
It took awhile but that ordinance finally paid off.
“The main criteria is that they have to create 100 jobs at $15-an-hour,” Briggs said.
The incentives includes waived fees — building permit fees, plan review fees, road and bridge fees and an expedited permitting process — and near-site improvements to streets and other infrastructure.
Incentive waivers total about $131,000.
Costco has agreed to invest in sewer and sidewalk improvements. Total capital improvements will total $21 million, Briggs said.
Briggs said Costco approached the city in December.
“They’ve evaluated the market in the past and determined that this was the time to be here,” Briggs said. “Based on the other locations here in Idaho, what their revenue targets are, everything like that, Idaho Falls has never been at the level to move forward so they can be sustainable and profitable and now we are. I think it’s been our continual growth that has added to us being able to qualify.”
The City Council unanimously approved the incentive program, without discussion, except for one comment.
“Congratulations to the city of Idaho Falls,” said councilman John Radford.