Costco readying for move to Shoppers City East

After nearly a year of speculation, it’s finally official: Costco is planning to move its Gloucester location to Shoppers City East.

The company behind the project, Trinity Development Group, confirmed to OBJ on Thursday that a public meeting to discuss the proposal will be held at Earl Armstrong Arena on May 5. Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney will join representatives from Trinity and Costco to present the design concept and take questions from 2-7 p.m.

Costco plans to occupy a 162,449-square-foot building at the back of the property, which is owned by Trinity and other financial partners of the firm.

The warehouse retail giant’s current east-end store at the corner of Cyrville and Innes roads, which has long been the subject of complaints about a lack of parking, has only two entrances and one exit that is often manned by a traffic cop.

The proposed new Costco's parking lot will feature 786 spots, while the Shoppers City East development as a whole will have 960 spaces. By comparison, the current Costco store at Innes and Cyrville has a total of 740 spaces. The new development has four entrances and four exits.

Trinity senior development manager Ryan Moore said in an e-mail the 207,334-square-foot mall complex will also include the Beer Store, Gabriel Pizza and Shoppers Drug Mart.

The site plan on the Trinity website originally included the first Ottawa location of Chop Steakhouse & Bar and a D’Arcy McGee’s pub. Mr. Moore said Chop Steakhouse is no longer part of the proposal and the lease with D'Arcy McGee's has not been confirmed. The site plan now mentions a proposed business called Coffee User.

The first retail outlets at the new development are set to open later this spring, he said.

Costco has yet to formally sign a lease and no completion date for its location has been determined. Mr. Moore said Trinity plans to submit its site plan application to the city in mid-May.

When OBJ first reported Costco’s decision to relocate its 100,000-square-foot Gloucester store last summer, retail analyst Barry Nabatian said it was no surprise the bulk warehouse vendor was looking elsewhere in the east end for space.

“The major problem is they do not have enough parking,” Mr. Nabatian, director of market research at Shore Tanner & Associates, said last June. “No matter where you go there, parking is awful.”

While a big-box tenant such as Costco provides a stable anchor for a strip mall, such retailers generally pay far less rent than smaller stores, he said – often as little as $9 or $10 per square foot compared with $20 and up for smaller retailers.

“Having these huge stores is beneficial only if you have lots of other smaller stores that can benefit from the large store, and therefore you can charge them higher rent to compensate for (lower rent at) the large store,” Mr. Nabatian said.

Costco Canada, which is headquartered in Ottawa, operates 90 stores in nine provinces. The chain’s Canadian operations generated more than $17 billion in revenue in 2014.

Editor's note: this story was updated on May 9.