Retail giant Costco plans a 75,000-square-foot warehouse with 25 loading docks on the vacant lot at the northeast corner of Elliot and Ellsworth Roads.
This is not a retail Costco store, but a “goods delivery operation,” or YDO, where large and bulky items are staged before being delivered to customers’ homes.
When customers purchase Items such as refrigerators or furniture in a store or online, the company ships the item from a distribution center to a local YTB, where it is unboxed and inspected for final delivery.
An attorney for the project told the Mesa Planning and Zoning Board that the Mesa facility will serve about half of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
He said it would be the first building Costco designed and built in Arizona specifically to serve as a YTB.
P&Z President Jeffrey Crockett and board member Jeff Pitcher praised the retailer’s work, but said they had issues with the warehouse’s proposed location in the heart of the Elliot Road Tech Corridor.
The city has invested millions in infrastructure to attract high-tech and manufacturing companies to the area north and south of Elliot Road, roughly between Sossaman and Signal Butte roads.
Fiber optic cables north of the corridor provide businesses with fast internet access and can provide large power loads suitable for high-voltage power lines, automation and data centers.
For those who need access to large volumes of water, there are 30-inch water and 24-inch sewer lines along Elliot Road.
Strong utilities and road improvements in this area represent the city’s multi-million dollar claim that manufacturers or tech companies will want to access these facilities and bring high-paying jobs to Mesa.
Warehouses provide employment, but do not fit into the city’s vision of the “tech corridor”.
“While I love Costco and they are in Mesa, I don’t like the idea of them using this space in the highly desirable Elliott Tech Corridor,” Crockett said.
The attorney said the Costco warehouse will include office space for a local headquarters and will employ about 75 full-time employees.
“Often there will be more employees than in our typical . . . YTB,” Costco’s real estate manager added.
While Crockett and Pitcher have concerns about the location, warehouses are allowed in the property’s Light Industrial zone, making the case a site plan review rather than a rezoning case.
The applicant’s lawyer agreed that the warehouse was not what the city was looking for in this location, but said that the building met all the requirements for current zoning.
Board members are not expected to consider land use in site plan reviews, as there may be a regional change.
“They tell us in law school there’s something called a ‘grunting approval,’ and I’m afraid we’re at this point because they have a right to it,” Pitcher said before voting to approve the plan.
Still, Crockett more than grumbled and single-handedly voted “no” in the 5-1 approval of the site plan.
In other works, the board has approved two more major projects in southeast Mesa.
In these other cases, items on the consent agenda are passed without discussion.
The board of directors signed the land plans for the 419-unit “Hawes Crossing MX Village 2” apartment complex located on the south side of Elliott Road between Sossaman and Hawes Roads.
The complex will include a mix of “luxury” apartment styles spread across 14 three-story buildings on approximately 20 acres.
The three buildings facing Elliott Road will consist of “living/working” units, which the applicant says “helps to promote a more urban pattern throughout Elliott” in the envisioned narrative.
The project could be the beginning of a significant concentration of apartments at this location, as the developer has conceptual plans for a roughly same-sized apartment complex to the east, bringing the total units to about 1,000.
The applicant’s narrative says the project meets “strong demand for luxury housing opportunities in this fast-growing region.”
Of all the Planning and Zoning projects signed up earlier this month, Mesa planners may have been most excited about Legacy Gateway Hotels, a campus of three hotels on the northwest corner of State Route 24 and Williams Field.
A total of 365 hotel rooms and 7,000 square meters of retail space will be added to the 10-acre project, located just north of the 320-acre Bell Bank Park sports complex.
All three hotels have four floors, and the brands planned for the campus are Residence in by Marriott, Home 2 Suites by Hilton, and Element by Marriott.
Las Vegas-based developer Tharaldson Hospitality has announced that the new hotels in its project will serve accommodation demand associated with Bell Bank Park and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
The site is also close to the 37-acre Cannon Beach surf park and entertainment district currently under construction at Power and Warner Roads and expected to be completed this year.