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Costco asks for more time to present Meridian store design. Here’s why

What to expect at the newly approved Costco coming to Meridian

Meridian’s City Council on April 4 approved a new Costco Wholesale store for Chinden Boulevard and Ten Mile Road. Costco at first hoped to open there before the end of 2018, but it now expects to open in 2020.
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Meridian’s City Council on April 4 approved a new Costco Wholesale store for Chinden Boulevard and Ten Mile Road. Costco at first hoped to open there before the end of 2018, but it now expects to open in 2020.

Costco says it needs more time to come up with a new exterior design for its Meridian store before returning to the Meridian City Council for approval.

The company had been scheduled to present a different design to the council at its Sept. 11 meeting, but will now appear Oct. 16.

In an email to the city’s planning staff, Peter Kahn, Costco’s assistant vice president for real estate development, praised the ideas offered by residents during a community meeting two weeks ago, but said there wasn’t enough time before the September council meeting to have a plan in place.

“Needless to say, we hard a lot of ideas and we are trying to condense these into a meaningful response,” Kahn wrote.

Costco, he said, would like to meet with residents again, possibly on Sept. 11, to “review more fully developed design concepts.” The design to be presented to the council will take into account reactions to the designs presented at that meeting.

The story below was published Aug. 14, 2018, under the headline, “Neighbors tell Costco what they think of latest exterior design ideas for Meridian store.”

Neighbors of the planned Meridian Costco Wholesale say they’re still not pleased the warehouse store is going up in their neighborhood.

But they came away happy from an informal meeting Tuesday where company representatives showed them possible exterior building designs and solicited their comments.

Peter Kahn, Costco’s assistant vice president for real estate development, told about 50 people at Meridian City Hall that the company is committed to working with them to ensure the store is compatible with their neighborhood.

He said Costco had adjusted its standard building design and color scheme in other communities where concerns have been raised.

“I think it’s something we can work around, because we have before,” Kahn said. “And we don’t have to have the red stripe” that typically winds around near the top of the building.

Neighbors opposed to the store planned at Chinden and Ten Mile roads complained last month to the Meridian City Council when the company submitted a design with a sleek gray exterior. They said they had understood that Costco would consult with them before submitting a design and that the one chosen did not fit the neighborhood of expensive homes.

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Green stickers indicate designs that neighbors like. Red ones signify ones they don’t. John Sowell jsowell@idahostatesman.com

The company said it scheduled a neighborhood meeting in June, but no one showed up. Neighbors said they hadn’t been told of the meeting.

This time, people showed up. Costco brought a couple of dozen designs for the exterior and for landscaping on the property. Kahn and other representatives asked people to look them over and to place green or red stickers on each design element to show whether they liked it or not.

Jane Albert, a resident of the nearby Spur Wing development, told Kahn that neighbors held two meetings among themselves and came up with elements they would like to see in the new store.

“This building needs to become part of the community, not stick out,” Albert said, reading from a report that was later presented to Kahn. “The color palate should blend and complement the existing neighborhood.”

The Costco design, she said, is critical because it will set the tone for the entire commercial development that it will be part of. The development includes pads for nine other shops or restaurants and an apartment complex behind the store.

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Jane Albert, who lives in a neighborhood near the planned Meridian Costco store, tells company representatives that neighbors want the store to blend into the neighborhood. She says they favor the use of wood beams and cultured stone, a pitched roof and broken roof lines to provide visual interest. She says pergolas (columns supporting a roof that is typically open, with rafters) would add visual impact. So would planters in front of the building instead of bollards (short posts). John Sowell jsowell@idahostatesman.com

She praised the company for reaching out.

“We’re thankful to be able to gather our residents and give input,” said Albert, though she still opposes the location of the store.

The neighborhood report suggested the use of wood beams and cultured stone to reflect Southern Idaho’s surroundings. Neighbors asked Costco for a pitched roof and broken roof lines to add interest, and to consider a low overall height to keep the building closer to the neighborhood’s scale. Wood eaves would also add character, the report said.

Resident Linda Arnold said she was happy Costco asked.

“I think they’re going to come up with a design that fits in with the neighborhood,” Arnold said. “I feel better knowing that they’re willing to work with us.”

Costco representatives said a berm 3 to 4 feet high will be built to shield the store’s gas station from passing motorists on Chinden and Ten Mile. An additional 2 feet of shielding will be provided atop the berm, because the road sits 2 feet above the building site.

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Peter Kahn, assistant vice president of real estate development for Costco Wholesale, tells neighbors that the company wants their input in choosing an exterior design. John Sowell jsowell@idahostatesman.com

The gas station will be able to serve three cars at a time in each of its lanes, compared with two at the Boise and Nampa stores. It could fuel 30 vehicles at a time. A car wash, available at the Boise Costco, is not part of the design for the Meridian store, Kahn said.

Road improvements for both Chinden and Ten Mile are required before the store can begin construction. They are expected to take a year, Kahn said. The store itself will take 110 days to build, and Kahn expects it to open sometime in 2020.

Someone asked whether store lights and parking-lot lights will be visible in nearby neighborhoods. Kahn said the LED lights to be used in the parking lot will be pointed down to minimize their reach. “No light will be escaping from our property,” he said.

Kahn said company representatives will toss ideas back and forth to Albert and other neighbors who agreed to act as a sounding board before the City Council meets Sept. 11 to consider a new design proposal from Costco.

“The council asked us to hear from you, and we’re glad to do that,” Kahn said.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @JohnWSowell.
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