Paulding County will spend a half-million dollars to help develop the future site of big-box retailer Costco as part of the government’s effort to encourage the retailer to build a new store near Dallas.
The Paulding County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday, Oct. 22, for development agreements with Costco and a Woodstock-based company from which the retailer is nearing a purchase of 21 acres on Ga. Hwy. 120, also known as Charles Hardy Parkway, in Dallas.
The retailer has submitted plans for a 135,000-square-foot store, parking lot containing 716 spaces, and possible future gas station on the north side of Hardy Parkway adjacent to Paulding Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Gerber Collision.
The county’s contribution to the project will be taken from its budget reserves and total about $510,000 for road and sewer system improvements and installation of traffic signal equipment, officials said.
It will not be done if Costco does not complete the purchase it has been negotiating with Woodstock-based 1260 Airport Drive LLC since 2018, the agreements stated.
According to the county’s development agreement, 1260 Airport Drive has the planned store site “under contract” with Costco — which typically means the seller has accepted the buyer’s offer but the sale is not yet completed.
Paulding DOT director George Jones said the roadwork, signalization and sewer line work can be finished by May 2020 if Costco completes the deal by Dec. 1.
The work will include $200,000 for installation of a 550-foot third lane on an existing service road running from Old Griffin Road along the rear of the dealership and Gerber to Hardy Parkway, he said.
Another $175,000 will be used to install traffic signal equipment at the improved service road’s intersection with Hardy Parkway — which is anticipated as one of two signalized entrances to Costco, Jones said.
Jones said the county already maintains traffic signals on that stretch of Hardy Parkway between Atlanta Highway and the Cobb County line by permission from Georgia DOT.
A developer often will buy and install signal equipment for a large-scale project with anticipated impact on a major road and the local governing body later take over its maintenance, he said.
However, Jones said Paulding DOT already has experience in buying and maintaining traffic signal equipment.
“It makes sense for us to actually be there and bid out and inspect and approve the traffic signals since we’re going to be taking it over anyway,” Jones said. “It’s just basically (to) make sure that we get what we’re looking for.”
The county also will give Costco $135,000 to help it build a sewer line under Hardy Parkway to connect with an existing access point to the county’s sewer system on the highway’s south side, he said.
Commissioners said the store — first announced as a possibility more than a year ago — will employ 200 in “good-paying” jobs in Paulding County and attract customers and their sales tax dollars from a multi-county area.
Commissioner Ron Davis, whose district includes the Costco site, said he could not estimate how many residents have asked him about the store since the deal first came to light.
“I wish I had a nickel for every time someone asked me, ‘When’s Costco coming? Is Costco coming?’” he said.
Construction of a major national retailer like Costco typically encourages suppliers and other retailers to locate near the store, said Commissioner Chuck Hart.
County Administrator Frank Baker credited commission Chairman Dave Carmichael with working “day and night” to bring about the plan to encourage construction of the store.
Costco first began negotiating for purchase and submitted plans for the site at 1577 Hardy Parkway in 2018.
Carmichael and county department heads then made themselves readily available in 2018 and throughout this year to the company and landowner to help broker the long-sought deal.
Costco officials said the company does not comment on plans for future stores.