Kauai Costco still set to open
High building costs and site plan changes delay construction
LIHUE » To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the death of the Costco Warehouse store on Kauai were greatly exaggerated.
Despite numerous media reports that Costco Wholesalers was pulling out of its Kukui Grove location, the store could be open by the end of this summer, a Costco representative said yesterday.
"If the stars line up, we would like to be open in August," said Jack Frank, vice president of real estate for the big-box retailer. "Costco is committed to Kauai."
Frank, who was on Kauai to testify before the Kauai Planning Commission, said a combination of "sticker shock" on construction costs and a need to tweak the site plan led to the delay. The store was originally scheduled to be opened last December.
Now, with a little help from land developer Grove Farm, they hope to start pouring the concrete slab in February, with construction beginning on both the store and the gas station soon after.
Costco has hired the general contractor and have "very detailed subcontractor pricing," Frank said, after building costs nearly killed the project.
In October, Costco chairman Jeff Brotman told the Star-Bulletin that the Kauai project was "delayed or abandoned completely" after the Seattle-based wholesaler received bids 30 percent more than they were willing to pay.
But construction costs, especially for materials, were up 30 percent to 200 percent across the country, Frank told the planning commission yesterday.
"We were not the only one taken aback by the increase," Frank said. "It's been a very, very busy construction" period.
The commission unanimously agreed to changes in the site plan that were requested by Costco -- mostly changes to parking lot entrances.
The company projected hiring 100 full-time and 100 part-time employees for the Kauai location, which would be the sixth Costco store in the state.