Costco officially opens doors today
RIDGELAND — The long-awaited Costco anchor tenant at the Renaissance Phase III site opens today.
Ridgeland Alderman-at-Large D.I. Smith said that he ran into an older woman around town recently and she'd quipped she hoped the store would open before she died.
"She said when she heard it was opening this spring she told her family they could leave her there for three days," Smith said.
Costco representatives have said in the build-up to their opening that they are expecting as many as 7,000 shoppers at the opening.
Mayor Gene McGee said he looked forward to the opportunities a new business like Costco would afford to the city.
"It is exciting to see that Costco is opening its doors," McGee said. "It will be a great asset to Ridgeland, the county and the state. It really is an impressive operation over there."
Ridgeland officials have previously projected the store to generate $100 million in annual sales, which comes out to $1.3 million in sales tax — a tenth of the city's current yearly rebate.
In addition, Costco will generate approximately $48,000 worth of city property taxes, approximately $78,000 worth of county taxes, and approximately $128,000 worth of county school taxes.
Smith, who initially was an opponent of the development, said that he has heard a lot of excitement in recent months about the store and is happy to see continued development in Ridgeland.
"Most everyone I have talked to is excited about the Costco," Smith said. "Lots of people I know have bought memberships. It is neat to have a development like this in the city and coupled with the upcoming city hall and completion of road projects, I think we can be thankful that Ridgeland continues to be a great place to live."
The fuel station across the Highland Colony opened for business in January.
Costco is the anchor tenant to the 45-acre Renaissance Phase III site. Site plans for Costco were originally approved in June 2016.
Two satellite tenants have been approved — a Walk-On's Bistreaux and Bar and Comcast retail store.
After aldermen approved plans in 2016, opponents spent the summer of that year petitioning the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to intervene arguing that the site would have a negative effect to the natural flow of Purple Creek which runs along the development and continues under County Line Road and on into Jackson.
Opponents were hoping this would revoke the development's Water Quality Certification.
The certification would be upheld and opponents received a final denial to revisit the issue from the MDEQ permit board in August of last year.
Other complaints from opponents included supposed increases in traffic and crime.
Opponents also attacked the development for spot zoning winning an appeal before the state supreme court that forced Costco to build their fuel center across the street, off-site in the Spring of 2018.
The Highland Colony Parkway was created by special legislation in 1989 after landowners agreed to donate right-of-way in exchange for economic development opportunities.
They argue "a big box fueling station is not allowed as a standalone gas station in C-3" because it's not a public use fueling station and because the city has not set that precedent yet.
A Costco membership is required to use the fueling center.
The six argued the site plan approval for the gas pumps violates the high court's ruling in their case that declared Ridgeland spot-zoned Costco's on-site fuel center.
The city appealed and won a year later with a decision form Circuit Judge Steve Ratcliff who ruled in February 2019 that the controversial site plan for a fueling station to accompany the anchor store set for across the street did, in fact, meet the city's zoning ordinance.
The property across the street from the proposed Costco on the Highland Colony Parkway has been zoned for fueling centers since 1992 under the C-3 classification.