Costco asks to build up to 10-story buildings
July 29, 2014
By Peter Clark
In exchange for open space, Costco is aiming for the sky.
Company leaders want to construct possibly three more buildings on the campus, with anywhere from three to 10 stories each.
“They are looking to expand their corporate facilities,” city Public Works Engineering Director Sheldon Lynne said. “They currently have surface parking lots that they are wanting to place buildings on.”
After long negotiations with the city, a Costco draft development agreement has entered the City Council process. The potential agreement would replace the original Pickering Place Master Site Plan, which brought the global headquarters to Issaquah in 1987.
The old agreement contains building height restrictions and commercial square footage allowances that fall below those allowed in the Central Issaquah Plan, according to the City Council agenda bill.
Costco has bigger ideas.
If approved, the development agreement would ensure Costco could grow its corporate office over the next 30 years. The proposed buildings could add up to an additional 1.5 million square feet of commercial development to the property.
The negotiations for further development of Costco’s 47 acres might require the business providing the city with open space.
“The zoning is complex,” Lynne said. “If you want to go higher, you have to pay a density bonus. If you want to go higher than four stories, you have to pay the city some money or provide open space.”
Though no definite plans were submitted for the sake of the development agreement, Costco did request the ability to build up to the maximum 125 feet.
“This is as high as the code allows,” Lynne said. “They’re asking for the flexibility to go that high.”
In the preliminary design, Costco planned to create a connected system of open space and parks in the center of the parcel and on the eastern edge, according to the draft development agreement.
Additionally, Costco would partner with Issaquah in the street improvements currently underway in the north of the city.
“This is tied into the suite of improvements of the north local improvement district,” Lynne said.
Three projects make up the bulk of the district, including an East Lake Sammamish Parkway widening, a Southeast 62nd Street road extension and improvements on the intersection of 12th Avenue Northwest and 17th Avenue Northwest. Lynne said Costco is collaborating with Issaquah on funding the projects to allow ease of traffic congestion in the area.
City officials expect completion of all three projects by 2019.
Though development would retain the commercial use of the land, Lynne said future buildings could be mixed use and provide upwards of 250,000 square feet of additional retail space.
City officials plan to complete the development agreement by Sept. 15.
“It’s a real quick turnaround,” Lynne said. “But the complexity of the development agreement is less than others.”
The council’s Land and Shore Committee will discuss the proposed development agreement next on Aug. 12. The full council is expected to hold a public hearing and possibly decide on the matter Sept. 15.