THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Four months after Costco received city approval to build a 154,300-square-foot store in Perrysburg, the project has not moved forward.
No demolition has begun on the buildings on the site southeast of State Rt. 25 and Eckel Junction Road, and no agreement has been reached for relocating a natural gas pipeline that crosses the property. Rerouting that line held up site plans for the project and delayed by a year the time frame in which the retailer wanted the store to open.
Plus, Costco‘s option to buy the property will expire in a month.
Exact details on the status of the project are sketchy, but a Costco representative, Ted Johnson, said opening the store by fall of next year is “still doable.”
He added: “But we have no timetable now.”
Perrysburg officials approved the site plan for the 28-acre property in March. But Columbia Gas Transmissions, which owns the 20-inch diameter line, objected to having the store‘s parking lot over the line. The owner of the 4-foot deep pipeline said the retailer cannot build a structure or pave the ground above the line, because that would make it harder to check for leaks and make repairs. Costco proposed a new path for the line, which skirted around the edges of the parking lot, but Columbia Gas has not approved the specifics.
Columbia Gas Transmissions said the two parties are in direct talks with the intention of coming up with an agreement. It declined further comment.
No permit has been filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which would have to approve a rerouted pipeline. That process typically takes a year to 18 months. So, the delay in getting an agreement between the parties on the new pipeline path could delay when Costco begins construction and, ultimately, when the store might open.
Costco said last fall it expected to begin construction in the spring and have it opened by this fall.
Also, Costco‘s access to the land has a timetable. Mary Alice Sadowski owns a house on the 28 acres Costco wants to buy, and she said on Wednesday that the fourth and final option for Costco to buy the land expires Aug. 16. By that date, Costco would need to pay full price for the property or negotiate an extension or its rights to the land would end.
Mrs. Sadowski said she has packed up most of her belongings and is ready to move, “no matter what.” She is frustrated with how long the purchase has been drawn out.
Besides its store, Costco is to have a 16-pump gas station, 720 parking spaces, and two outlots that its plan indicated could be a fast-food restaurant and a bank.
Perrysburg officials are confident that the project will proceed.
“I don’t think it is [a concern],” said Brody Walters, city planning and zoning administrator. “People equate delays with denials and I don‘t think that is the case. Sometimes it just takes that long to do.”
He said Costco had planned to move quicker on the site, but is still working toward getting the approvals it needs. The company has sent building plans to the Wood County Building Inspection for building permits, but first the city must grant zoning permits. That can be done, Mr. Walters said, after seeing the construction plans, which he expects this week.
Costco has agreed to pay $396,000 toward the intersection widening project now under way at Rt. 25 and Eckel Junction, but city officials say that was contingent on the store proceeding at the site. If another business located there instead, Mr. Walters said, it would be told it needs to pay that sum. The money was to pay for an extra left-turn lane on westbound on Eckel Junction at Rt. 25, to handle traffic exiting the Costco site.
The city’s approval of the Costco site plan does not expire, but the accompanying special use permit will expire in March if work hasn’t started.
Costco, of Issaquah, Wash., is a members-only store that sells groceries, jewelry, electronics, clothing, and other merchandise at what are advertised as discounted prices. It had $103 billion in sales last year. It has 462 stores in the United States and more globally. It has a store in West Toledo that opened in 2007.
Contact Matt Thompson at: email@example.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.