For years, Costco Wholesale owners have been on the hunt for a site to relocate the popular Clovis warehouse and over the last year, they have been working diligently with city staff to form a plan for a 16-acre property they acquired near the busy intersection of Clovis and Shaw avenues.
A mere block south of the major Shaw corridor, bordered by Santa Ana to the south and residential street Dewitt to the west, as well as Clovis Avenue to the east, the long vacant parcel was specifically zoned by the city in its general plan for such a commercial venture. According to staff, Costco’s plan really fits the bill in terms of what the city intended for the space.
“This is an opportunity for Shaw Avenue to have a shot in the arm and reboot, and it aligns with our general plan, the Shaw Avenue specific plan and the corridor plan to revitalize it,” said Andy Haussler, the city’s economic development director. “I think this will spur a lot of other improvements at this intersection for retail and bolster the city’s budgetary goals.”
At a June 28 meeting, the Clovis Planning Commission approved Costco’s plans for the new warehouse, gas station and tire center.
The new and improved Costco will be a step up from the current location on Peach and Ashlan. Having opened its doors in 1990, 28 years ago, Costco Director of Real Estate Development Michael Okuma, said the site is outdated. At 92,000 square feet, the current Costco is also small compared to the modern stores the members-only chain is mostly operating today. The new warehouse will be a much larger 150,000 square feet, plus a 52,000 square-foot tire center. It will also have a sleek design with an industrial flare that matches neighboring commercial buildings and serves as a tie in with Old Town Clovis—a tie in that will only be enhanced by landscaping and a walking path that connects seamlessly to the Old Town Trail across the street.
In addition to the more spacious warehouse, the new location will be easier for drivers to navigate. Currently, parking is a major issue at the Ashlan and Peach Costco, as it shares the lot with several other retailers in the center, and the flow of traffic is not only convoluted with odd dead ends and strange turns but the parking lot issues are often exacerbated by long lines spilling out of the Costco fuel up station.
Okuma said the new site is designed specifically to provide plenty of space for vehicles in line to gas up. In fact, 1.4 acres will be entirely dedicated to the gas station and there will be 10 fueling areas to service up to 20 vehicles at a time. If that is not enough, there is space to add on five more fueling areas to serve a total of 30 vehicles simultaneously in the future. With so many pumps as well as some distance between the gas station and the parking lot, the problems that exist at the current site will be remedied, Okuma said. Having the gas station up front along Clovis Avenue will also make for an easy in and out for those just wanting to fuel up and go.
Aside from all these benefits, Okuma said the new site is also closer to 50 percent of Costco’s area membership who often travel from the northeast to get to the current location.
“Our traffic studies show a lot of our members travel from the northeast, which means many of our members are closer to the new site,” Okuma said. “When we started looking, we kept this in mind and wanted a site that was convenient for our existing members. We found this site on Clovis just a block south of Shaw and it’s already zoned commercial and is large enough for us to build our current sized warehouse. It will allow us to provide all the services we currently provide at our Clovis warehouse and showcase a lot of the products that we can’t showcase properly at the current location. It provides good access to our members and adjacent to two large arterial streets and with Shaw being a large commercial corridor, so we think it has a lot of pluses.”
While some residents in the area expressed concerns about increased traffic in the area, most were pleased with Costco’s willingness to work with them and supported the plan.
Resident Jerry Cook said the new Costco will be a substantial upgrade to the current one.
“I’ve been involved in developing shopping centers in Clovis as well as industrial parks and all types of construction. I’m very familiar with this particular project and I would imagine most people here have either been to Costco or have a Costco card and I think we all recognize that Costco serves a valuable purpose in this community with high quality food at reasonable prices,” Cook said. “Is this the perfect site? No site is perfect, but this is so far superior to the current Costco site we all like to use. It is going to be so much more accessible, the parking is going to be so much more amenable to what we need for shopping. The consideration on the landscaping with the high heat we have and the shading is going to be very important to this community as is tying it in with the trail and making sure the headlights don’t go right into the neighboring properties.
“I think we are very fortunate to have this project go here and not outside the city of Clovis. We all know it could go down south on Clovis Avenue and be out of Clovis but I think this is a thoughtful enterprise that we will be proud to have in Clovis. I’m unrestrained in my support for this project and commend Costco.”
Okuma explained that Costco wanted to be respectful of the neighborhood in making sure its light fixtures would not shine in the resident’s direction, in offsetting the warehouse so it does not face the neighborhood, and in creating a 50-foot buffer along both Santa Ana and Dewitt avenues complete with visually appealing landscaping.
To address traffic concerns, the outlets along Santa Ana will be turn in only to prevent vehicles from exiting onto the street and traveling west toward a series of stop signs that could potentially get backed up and congest the area. Two new signals will also be put in—one along Clovis Avenue where northbound drivers are currently encouraged to turn left just before the Carrows restaurant, and one on Shaw Avenue at Dewitt.
While the traffic signals will be a significant change along both major streets, another community amenity will be the pedestrian friendly path leading up to Costco that ties in with the existing trail, and 300 trees—double the amount required by city codes—shading the parking lot.
Planning commissioners said they are excited to see Costco relocate to the Santa Ana and Clovis site.
“This is a beautiful project,” commissioner Alma Antuna said. “I’m excited to see something going into that lot and I absolutely echo our economic director that this is going to bring revitalization to the area, and I really like the walkability that is being brought to connect to our trail.”
Commissioner Mike Cunningham also weighed in.
“I think it is a tribute to Costco to be willing to work with the city of Clovis and a tribute also to our staff,” Cunningham added. “I know this has been a long process but a process we can all be happy and proud of.”