Everyone Loves Costco, Except Residents in Guilderland, NY
On the other side of the Hudson River, we have a “developing” eminent domain story involving a retailer that this blogger (and father of two) personally loves – Costco! What’s not to like? Great deals, diverse products, $5 giant rotisserie chicken…the list goes on. It seems you can purchase almost anything you could ever need at a Costco. I would be excited if a Costco opened near me. The same cannot be said of certain residents in Guilderland, NY as there have been at least five separate lawsuits filed to stop the project since it was announced several years ago. Here is a very short news clip regarding the matter.
On May 3, 2023, the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Town of Guilderland, New York approved a special use permit to build a 163,000 square foot Costco wholesale retail facility, including an 18 pump fuel facility, liquor sales and tire sales/installation on 16.46 acres. Additional information as to the proposed site includes:
Access to the site will be provided via 3 driveways, which includes a full access driveway from Gabriel Terrace; full access driveway from Crossgates Mall Road and right-in only driveway from Crossgates Mall Road. A minimum of 653 parking spaces are required for the proposed use, with a maximum of 817 parking spaces permitted. The applicant is proposing 770 parking spaces, which includes 16 accessible parking spaces and 8 electric vehicle charging parking spaces.
Additionally, on August 22, 2023, the Guilderland Industrial Development Agency (GIDA) unanimously approved $2.2 million in tax breaks for the Costco property while also agreeing to acquire portions of five abandoned roads in the area by eminent domain. The property would then be conveyed to Pyramid Management Group, LLC, a private developer. Guilderland residents living next to the proposed site are upset and claim building the Costco will destroy natural resources in the area such as the Albany Pine Bush ecosystem and that the eminent domain process thus far has resulted in a lack of notice about plans regarding the takings. Those opposed to the development also argued that the lost tax dollars would benefit the municipality more than it would a multi-million dollar corporation. The GIDA stated some of the top reasons for approving the development included significant permanent jobs created as well as construction jobs, tax revenue generated by Costco (property tax and sales tax), and over $41 million dollars’ worth of investment.
Will the Town of Guilderland gain access to giant $5 dollar rotisserie chickens and $1.50 hot dog combos? It will be interesting to see how this one plays out…