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Costco sets sights on November opening

CENTRAL POINT — Delayed by legal challenges for more than a year from its original timeline, Costco Wholesale has put the pedal to metal in constructing its new digs on the southwest corner of Hamrick and Table Rock roads. But customers may have to hit the brake pedal on occasion, as planned road improvements leading to the site have been put off until next year.

The retailer has told city officials it expects to open the $13.2 million, 161,992-square-foot warehouse and fuel station on 18.28 acres next month. After running into right-of-way issues, however, Jackson County has had to push back plans to improve Table Rock Road.

"They haven't given us a specific date, but their intention is to open in November," Central Point Development Director Tom Humphrey said of the building. "It really depends on if they can get all the contractors in and get the infrastructure up."

Costco, based in Issaquah, Washington, operates on the notion it will build and open a store within 110 days of the time it commences construction.

"Our inspector has been amazed about how many things are going on," Humphrey said. "It's kind of like ants working on an ant hill out there. I don't know how many local subs they've employed, but there are a lot of people working on some aspect of the building."

Costco acquired the property for $3.7 million after the final legal hurdle was cleared in April. Company representatives didn't immediately return telephone messages Friday.

The rapid pace is keeping the city busy inspecting progress.

"They are very conscientious about their product," he said. "They had to pull some things out, not because our inspectors told them to, but because their own inspectors told them to do it."

The corresponding construction on Table Rock Road, however, has been delayed into next year.

Table Rock is being widened to five lanes through the area, with a traffic signal going in at Airport Road. The bidding process was delayed, Humphrey said, partly because Jackson County had difficulty obtaining right-of-way from adjacent property owners.

"When they got the right-of-ways it meant getting bids at the worst possible time," Humphrey said. "When people are busy they will give you inflated numbers."

He anticipates the county will request bids in November.

An $8 million grant was obtained for road improvement with Central Point, Medford and the county putting in the remaining funds. 

"It would have been nice to have got something done this summer," Humphrey said. "But you can't anticipate every obstacle."

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

Construction crews work Friday on the new Costco gas station off Table Rock Road. [Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch]