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Northeast News

Northwest Hillsborough site could be home to Costco store

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Published:   |   Updated: December 10, 2013 at 05:18 AM

TAMPA — A 29-acre tract at Sheldon Road and Linebaugh Avenue in northwest Hillsborough County is being proposed as the site of the region’s third Costco store.

Joe Marino of M&M Development of Clinton, N.J., has assembled 27 parcels at the southeast corner of Sheldon and Linebaugh in hopes of building a shopping center to be anchored by a Costco, Tampa land use attorney Ron Weaver said.

The plan is to build a 155,000-square-foot, standalone Costco store near the back of the property, said Weaver, who is representing the developer locally on land-use matters. Commercial space would be available closer to Linebaugh Avenue for other freestanding outlets such as a bank, pharmacy and restaurants.

In recent weeks, development officials have met with Westchase Community Association leaders to tell them about the project and get their thoughts.

“We haven’t filed for a rezoning yet, but we have reached out to neighbors to answer their questions,” Weaver said.

The residents wanted to know more about traffic effects and environmental aspects of building a shopping center in their community, he said.

Traffic studies were done to determine the potential effect on the neighborhood and surrounding area. The developer also is proposing locating the Costco store near the rear of the property, away from Linebaugh, so the big box store would be a better fit for the area, Weaver said. A community center also has been proposed on the site.

Weaver said he plans to submit a rezoning proposal to the county on his client’s behalf in early January.

Costco Wholesale Corp., based near Seattle, operates an international chain of membership warehouses. The chain credits itself with carrying name brand merchandise at prices lower than traditional wholesale or retail stores.

Costco has about 460 locations nationwide, including two in the Tampa area, in Brandon and Clearwater.

Marino could not be reached for comment. As a company policy, Costco executives don’t comment on locations until they open.

Weaver described the proposed shopping complex near the intersection of Sheldon Road and Linebaugh Avenue in terms of convenience for area residents.

“It would be an ideal community amenity and shorten their shopping trips,” Weaver said.

The Westchase Community Association has formed a committee to take the lead on identifying issues related to the shopping center proposal, said Joaquin Arrillaga, who will serve as the committee chairman. The committee will unveil its concerns at a second meeting with development group officials this month.

Keeping residents safe and protecting the appearance of the community are paramount, said Arrillaga, a three-term past president of the community association.

“We are proud of our community,” Arrillaga said.

kknight@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7413

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