Advertise in the WOW | My Account | Log In
New User Registration | Search | Contact Us

Costco Developer Wins Rezoning Request

Capping more than a half year of work, M&M Realty saw the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners vote to approve its request to rezone 32.25 acres at the southeast corner of Sheldon Road and Linebaugh Avenue.

The rezoning request was included in commissioners’ consent agenda, passed at the beginning of their July 22 meeting. County staff and the rezoning hearing master had previously indicated support for the project.

M&M Realty has announced plans for a multi-use commercial project at the corner including a Costco and several out-parcels. Those out-parcels are currently expected to include a commercial retail space featuring a 155,000 square foot Costco big box store, and five additional out-parcels, including a Costco-related gas station, a pharmacy, a bank, a sit-down restaurant and a fast-food restaurant.

The county’s June 2 rezoning hearing saw little opposition to the project. Westchase Community Association WCA Director Joaquin Arrillaga attended that session to inform Hearing Master James Scarola that the association had voted to “not oppose” the project.

The WCA first met with M&M Realty in November and spent the following months negotiating over M&M Realty’s plans. The association noted M&M’s compromises on site layout, building aesthetics, alcohol use and the maintenance of adjacent road medians as reasons for taking their position.

Addressing concerns about the expected increase in traffic, the WCA also signed a legal agreement in which M&M Realty committed that the big box parcel expected to hold Costco would not open before 9 a.m. during the first term of its lease, which is 25 years. That limitation would be removed if the Citrus Park Drive extension is built, if additional road improvements are made, if the big box parcel is occupied by a tenant other than Costco, if the big box parcel is significantly subdivided or if it is occupied by a grocery store or supermarket. (Costco currently opens Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. nationwide and opens at 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. on Sundays.) In exchange for the legal agreement, the WCA agreed to appear before the rezoning hearing and state it was not opposed to the rezoning request.

According to a previous, rough timeline shared by M&M Realty, once approved by the BOCC, the project will undergoes an additional three to four month development review process. Formal construction would then take about 18 months.

When asked for comment, WCA President Nancy Sells responded via e-mail, “After I let the Costco Committee members know of the Board of County Commissioners decisions approving Costco, this is a response I received from Jim Moloney, who had served on that committee. He summarized it perfectly. ‘We proved to M&M that we are a serious and involved community that really cared about the impact and appearance of their development. It will be satisfying to see them transform the site into a shared vision that we know we helped shape. It will add to the congestion but hopefully that will be offset by the savings and convenience of having the best warehouse club store in the country a short trip away.’”

Marino was not available for comment.

Note: The original article posted on this site has been changed to incorporate comments from Sells.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher


Please login or register to post a comment.