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Costco draws closer to first Columbia location

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By Chris Cox
Published Aug. 24, 2015

Costco’s long-awaited path to its first Midlands location has drawn one step closer.

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Costco received approval from the Richland County Planning Department last week for a Piney Grove Road store. (Photo/Alastair
The national wholesaler received approval from the Richland County Planning Department last week for a Piney Grove Road store, spokeswoman Beverly Harris said, and soon the company will resubmit plans to the Transportation Department.

The 17-acre site is the same one Costco flirted with two years ago, before a deal fell through with Richland County Council to help pay for road improvements. The transportation department received the company’s initial application for an encroachment permit in April and has been working since May on its revision since receiving staff comments, district permit engineer Carol Hamlin said.

Retailers of this size must submit a traffic impact study, Hamlin said, which looks at roadway improvements based on the projected number of customers. Costco’s plan calls for several changes, including turn lanes on Fernandina and Piney Woods roads and improvements to the Piney Grove-Fernandina intersection.

“They’ve been working since May on revising the plans according to our comments and we expect them to resubmit here shortly,” Hamlin said. “But as far as when we’re going to approve it, we’re not really sure.”

Costco has four locations across South Carolina in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Greenville and Spartanburg, but none in the Midlands area.

The Issaquah, Wash.-based company’s potential entrance into the area would continue a recent trend. Fellow membership-only retailer Sam’s Club plans to open a third Columbia location in the Village at Sandhill and rival warehouse B.J.’s Wholesale Club has similar plans nearby on the Sparkleberry Lane Extension.

Reach Chris Cox at 803-726-7545 or on Twitter @chrisbcox.

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