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Costco's Unique L.A. Location Could Signal a New Era For the Chain

The plan calls for a ground-level warehouse inside an 800-unit apartment building.

If you've ever shopped for groceries at Costco, then you know what a typical location looks like: a vast, cavernous stockroom, stacked high with household goods as far as you can see. Costco-obsessed comedian Matt O'Brien compares it to a "big airplane hangar." The buildings themselves are massive and boxy, usually surrounded by a sprawling parking lot—the kind of superstore you traditionally see in wide-open suburban areas, certainly not densely packed urban settings.

A newly proposed Costco location in Los Angeles could change that, however. Developer Thrive Living recently submitted plans for an 800-unit apartment building in the city's Crenshaw area with a brand new style of Costco warehouse located on the ground floor, according to multiple reports.

KABC-TV described it as a "game changer" for the neighborhood, potentially creating some 400 new jobs, but it could prove revolutionary for Costco as well.

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If the plan moves forward, it would mark the first Costco warehouse of its kind—no other U.S. warehouse is currently attached to a housing complex—and may serve as a prototype for future stores in other urban centers.

One local real estate executive told CoStar News "it appears Costco may be testing the concept," adding that other developers would be closely watching as the warehouse club is a "highly desirable tenant" because of its popularity.

Thrive Living did not specify the size of the planned Costco store, but indicated it would include two subterranean levels and ground-level parking. "The retailer plans to deliver a state-of-the-art store featuring fresh produce, healthy food options for residents," according to a press release. "Costco also plans to provide optical services, a pharmacy, and delivery services to support the needs of local businesses."

The average size of a Costco warehouse is about 146,000 square feet, according to CoStar, but the company does operate smaller stores, too. Its location in Juneau, Alaska, spans just 72,000 square feet.

Real estate site GlobeSt posited that the developer's plan would hopefully also include several freight elevators "so tenants can continue to replenish mass quantities of goods from the store under their apartments without having to go outside."

Chris Shott
Chris Shott is the Deputy Editor covering restaurants and groceries for Eat This, Not That! Read more about Chris
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