DULUTH – Costco is once again eyeing a large property near the airport, just two months after the company terminated an agreement to build on the same site due to high construction costs.
The warehouse retail chain requested bids from local contractors to build a store at Haines Road and W. Arrowhead Road, said Don O’Connor, general manager of the Minnesota Builder Exchange’s Duluth office.
A Costco spokesperson declined to comment on the decision to reattempt its Duluth project, citing a company policy not to discuss new locations until a store is within three months of opening.
Costco filed plans to build in Duluth with the city last fall. Then in March, a site selector for the retailer said the company was looking for a new property, perhaps in peripheral communities, due to “extraordinarily high project bids” for the Duluth project.
Craig Olson, president of the Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council, said Costco’s new ask allows contractors more time to complete the project, a change that will likely drive down bid prices. The current plan would aim to have the store ready by November of 2021.
Other local construction projects have been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which could also mean cheaper options for Costco, Olson said.
“I think the timing is perfect, and I’m optimistic that our contractors will be aggressive,” he said. “We’ll do everything within our power to help make this happen.”
Noah Schuchman, Duluth’s chief administrative officer, said at a news conference Wednesday that “the city has never stopped working with Costco.”
“We have continued our positive conversations with Costco and remain committed to working with them to bring a store to Duluth,” he said.