The future is bright for those of us who want a better, more sustainable wholesale option in Dallas, as the Dallas City Council voted 10-5 to approve $3 million in economic incentives to bring Costco inside the Dallas city limits. As Candy explained, the money will come from a public-private partnership fund that comes from your water bill:
It’s a pool of funds earmarked for Economic Development. The funds are actually generated from fees users of Dallas Water pay. The water department is a revenue generating operation for the city — the city charges the utility a fee in lieu of taxes. This money goes into the public/private partnership fund and can be used for whatever the City Council decides, in this case economic development.
For those of us that were so hopeful about Costco moving into the decaying eyesore that is the Steakley Chevrolet lot on Northwest Highway and Abrams, only to have those dreams squashed, this is great news. According to Costco’s own numbers, members who live south of LBJ will spend $40 million in their new store at Coit and Churchill Way. Just think of all of the Sam’s Club members that will jump ship, too. I know that I’ll be shopping at the new store once it’s constructed, and I’m not even a current wholesale club member!
The former TxDOT property will cost $16.5 million to acquire and the building — on which Costco says it will spare no expense — will cost more than $30 million. When built, it will employ 225 people, with starting wages clocking in at $13 per hour with full benefits. Costco is known for taking care of its employees, and will hopefully help to set the bar for other businesses when it comes to minimum wages.
It’s important to note that, while this was a contentious issue around the horseshoe at 1500 Marilla, one member of the City Council, Mark Clayton, tried to turn perceived lemons into lemonade for southern Dallas, according to Robert Wilonsky:
Before the item was even discussed, council member Mark Clayton tacked on an amendment that instructed the Office of Economic Development to come back to council within 90 days with a concrete plan for adding a grocery store within a food desert — a part of the city lacking easy access to fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy food. Clayton said that if the city was going to kick in money for a superstore up north, the very least it could do was promise something to those living south of the Trinity River as well.
Clayton said his amendment was “a sincere attempt to provocatively turn around parts of the city in desperate need.”
Bravo to Clayton for the effort, even though some naysayers considered it lip service. Perhaps, though, the city could make the next large economic development dispersal contingent upon relocating to southern Dallas?