Costco looks like a go for Grossman auto site in Burnsville

  • Article by: DEAN SPIROS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 10, 2010 - 9:50 AM

Only the thumbs-up from what appears to be an enthusiastic City Council stands in the way of the long-rumored opening of a Costco in Burnsville.

The Burnsville Planning Commission voted 6-0 on Monday to recommend to the City Council the approval of Costco's application to build its first warehouse south of the river. The City Council will address the application next Tuesday.

Costco has a purchase agreement with Mike Grossman, owner of Grossman Chevrolet and Cadillac, for the 15.4-acre property at 141st Street and Burnhaven Drive, near Burnsville Center. But the deal has yet to be closed.

Grossman has filed for arbitration in an attempt to prevent GM from closing his dealership.

GM announced last week that it would be notifying 600 dealerships this week that they've been taken off the list for closing, but Grossman was not among a handful of dealers who got calls from GM on Tuesday telling them to expect reinstatement.

Even if Grossman were to get a reprieve, it appears likely he would sell the site to Costco and relocate his business.

If things progress as Costco expects, the company will begin demolition of the current buildings and start construction in July. Costco would open for business in November. It would have 200 employees, 100 of whom would be full-time.

Along with a 157,000-square-foot warehouse, the Costco would feature a liquor store, a tire center and a gas fueling station. Only the liquor store would be open to nonmembers.

The fueling station will not have a store or a car wash.

The parking lot would include 693 spaces, some of which would be used for snow storage in the winter. There would be access to the lot from Burnhaven and 141st Street.

Planning Commission Chairman Steve Manhart recommended a traffic light be installed at 141st Street and Burnhaven. Costco believes a four-way stop sign would be sufficient at first, but Manhart said that because a signal would be needed eventually, it should be done right away.

Costco also would be responsible for considerable landscaping on the property, particularly along McAndrews Road and Burnhaven Drive.

A handful of residents spoke at a public hearing on Monday. Some had concerns about traffic and the density of landscaping that would be used to screen activity at the store from nearby homes. But no one opposed the potential new neighbor.

Those sentiments were echoed by the Planning Commission. Commissioner Ramraj Singh asked Costco officials to monitor any concerns residents might have in the future and to look for solutions. Commissioner Patrick Julik voiced concern for the neighbors directly north of the gas fueling station, who would have a view of the canopy over the pumps outside their windows.

Julik wondered if larger evergreen trees could be installed to help hide the canopy, but no plans were put in place to do so. Overall, he called Costco a welcome addition.

Dean Spiros • 952-882-9203

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