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Costco secures West Fargo site, plans 2012 opening

Costco's West Fargo site

WEST FARGO - For once, rumors are true: Costco Wholesale is coming to West Fargo, with a debut set for fall 2012.

Planning commissioners here approved a rezoning request from developers Thursday night, marking the first official step in bringing the big-box retail giant to North Dakota's fastest growing city.

The Forum first reported last month that the Washington state-based retail company was scouting potential sites in the metro - particularly in a budding development known as The Preserve, southwest of the Interstate 94 interchange at Veterans Boulevard.

Dan Bueide, the Fargo attorney representing the majority property owners in The Preserve, announced Thursday that Costco had signed a binding purchase agreement for more than 18 acres to build the company's first location in North Dakota.

Costco sells items in bulk to customers who purchase store memberships, much like its main competitor, Sam's Club. The nearest stores are currently at least four hours away in either the Twin Cities or Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Costco is the first business to find a home in The Preserve, which presents an "exciting opportunity" for the city, Bueide said.

"I think people are starting to see the potential for Veterans Boulevard," Bueide told the planning commissioners. "To me, we couldn't have found a better way to kick off that corridor."

West Fargo Administrator Jim Brownlee agreed, calling the future Costco "a huge win for us."

"To have such a big retail establishment to anchor that area and that development will be just wonderful for us as a city," Brownlee told The Forum.

City commissioners must also sign off on the rezoning request. But if all goes as planned, Bueide said utility lines and other infrastructure will be installed next spring once the ground thaws.

Construction will take place over the summer, with the grand opening of the West Fargo Costco planned for Nov. 1, 2012, he said.

The Costco site is just northeast of what will eventually be the intersection of Seventh Street East and 23rd Avenue East, in the first addition of North Pond at The Preserve.

The first subdivisions of The Preserve - Mapleridge and South Pond - are already under construction, with additional infrastructure being constructed as needed throughout the 500-acre development.

Costco representatives declined to comment earlier Thursday on the future store, citing corporate policy to not comment on potential locations until buildings are under construction. Costco Wholesale operates more than 400 locations nationwide.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541