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Challenges with potential Costco site in Pleasanton

Uploaded: Dec 31, 2015
I will readily admit that I am somewhat confused by the Pleasanton Weekly’s reports of Costco signing a letter of intent to buy the 40-acre former Clorox site on Johnson Drive between Stoneridge Drive and Black Tie Transportation.
I understand why the city would want the sales tax that flows from the most successful warehouse retailing company in the United States. It gushes sales tax to say nothing about updated property tax over the now-razed buildings that were constructed before Proposition 13.
What I do not get is why Costco is willing to build the new store and where new customers would come from. For people living on the west side of Pleasanton and Dublin, it will be more convenient than the Danville/San Ramon or Livermore warehouses, but the Ruby Hill folks still are going to head to Livermore as likely will others on that side of town.
Pleasanton may be more convenient for the upscale residents of the Hayward hills (whoever thought I would use the words upscale and Hayward in the same sentence?) as well as Castro Valley. I think that current Costco members are shopping whichever of the two stores are convenient to whatever trips they are making (that’s my routine).
So, I struggle to see the big sales upside for Costco, but then I am neither a Costco executive nor a shareholder--merely a member.
And, I am blown away by the numbers the Weekly is reporting—22,000 Costco members. The 2010 census lists Pleasanton with 25,245 households. Presumably those numbers include multiple members (husbands and wives) within the same households, but those are amazing numbers. Even if you assume it is two members per household, that’s going on a 40-plus percent membership penetration.
That’s why Costco loves to locate in upscale communities because it is all about the total of the register ring (as a vendor explained to me). The wealthier the customer, the higher the ring on purchases that are discretionary—to say nothing of the staples. Lots of wealthy folks know how to drive a bargain and appreciate one.
The very legitimate concern from a Pleasanton viewpoint is how traffic will be managed around the warehouse. The Danville store is tucked away on its southern border so San Ramon deals with all the traffic and Danville gets the tax revenue.
Without major road improvements, the Pleasanton site is served by a two-lane frontage road that runs north from Stoneridge Drive and the freeway interchange around to I-580 and eventually the Hopyard interchange. By contrast, the Livermore store is served by two freeway interchanges that connect either to a two-lane frontage road or an arterial four-lane expressway.
It’s hard to imagine there is space to widen Johnson Drive without removing the on-street parking along Johnson across from existing businesses.
The potential traffic issues have been raised during City Council meetings already by Bill Wheeler, who owns Black Tie. The formal hearing process likely will start in February.
Local Journalism.
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Posted by bob, a resident of Dublin,
on Dec 31, 2015 at 9:12 am

I'll be able to ride my bicycle to the new one!

Posted by Duh, a resident of Ironwood,
on Dec 31, 2015 at 9:27 am

That's right Bob. But how are you going to get your purchases home?

Posted by Steve, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 31, 2015 at 10:37 am

Both Danville and Livermore Costcos are overloaded with customers. In the Tri-Valley, "we" need another Costco, maybe two, so one can even park--oftentimes it is impossible.

Posted by Ennis, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on Dec 31, 2015 at 3:14 pm

The big sales upside is this. They sub-divide markets once stores reach a certain volume level (in this case it's about $144M). It becomes exponentially more difficult to drive volume due to infrastructure limitations -parking, registers, ability to re-stock shelves-both Danville and Livermore have these issues. Costco's model doesn't really them allow to force business to lower productivity time slots (i.e. Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons) so the dependency is on the Fri-Sun period to move the sales needle which becomes increasingly difficult to do. They opened over in Tracy 3-4 years ago which clipped the Livermore store volume back but business, but with all of the residential construction in Dublin, volume has increased back to high levels. With the new residential building in Pleasanton/Dublin, an existing Pleasanton/Dublin customer base, grabbing business from Castro Valley and Hayward, a new store will allow them to get ahead of the curve in terms of maximizing business in this geographic area. It also keeps Sam's Club out of the market. Traffic issues will get sorted out with the widening of Johnson. Employee parking behind the Double Tree (and it may cost him to do so) will address his issues. It's a good use of an existing site and isn't greenfield building which is also a huge benefit.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 1, 2016 at 1:49 am

rosalindr is a registered user.

I moved here after the Danville Costco was built. It was, if I recall, supposed to be built on Alcosta near where the CVS and Walmart are now. Residents objected to the potential traffic, so it was moved to Danville, which as Tim pointed out, gets all the revenue while San Ramon still gets all the traffic!


Posted by Sam, a resident of Livermore,
on Jan 1, 2016 at 8:57 am

Livermore is overcrowded in my opinion because so many Asians from i guess Dublin show up with three generations of the family to do the shopping . I can't imagine dragging my parents to Costco , last thing I'd want but that's just me.

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Jan 1, 2016 at 9:36 am

Well, when I go to Costco in Livermore it's a planned trip with my daughter, son-in-law and one or both of my semi-adult grandchildren (19 & 22). We like to split bulk items up between family members. Everybody gets exactly what they want. Shopping together in this particular case works well for our family, time-wise and financially.

I'm not Asian and I've lived in Pleasanton for 24 years. But that's just me.

Posted by bring it here, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 1, 2016 at 10:04 am

How much does Bill Wheeler pay to the city in order to have his street parking? Oh, nothing. So what right does he have to complain when the city widens the road and he has to finally pay for parking? I would like to have the street parking in front of my home always remain open for my exclusive use. Not gonna happen because I don't own it nor do I pay for it. Costco will be a good thing for this community and we will see an exponential increase in tax revenue. As pointed out, San Ramon screwed themselves out of the revenue but still got the traffic.

As for Ruby Hill residents still going to Livermore -- they only shop at Costco when they are done overwatering their lawns with our drinking water. Ever see a dead flower in Ruby Hill? Didn't think so. They just suck up the water and then pay the fines.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jan 1, 2016 at 11:45 am

Sam....what about the more the merrier? duh...

a family that shops together cooks together and dines together...


Posted by concerned, a resident of Stoneridge,
on Jan 3, 2016 at 9:55 am

To Pleasanton people who are concerned about Costco traffic. Beware what you wish for. If you think vote NO to have this Costco, then something else is going to come in that location. It could be a Super Wal-Mart given the city's love of that retalier. If that happens, not only will you get the traffic, but the crime.

I'd much rather have a Costco than gamble on something else being on that site. Traffic will come no matter what!

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jan 3, 2016 at 10:37 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

At least there won't be another coffee shop or Italian restaurant going in at that spot.

He responds with a deadpan face...

Totally in favor of Costco.

Posted by kbenson, a resident of Bordeaux Estates,
on Jan 4, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Problem with Costco (in General) are the shoppers. Folks are driving these over sized carts everywhere and block isles (especially near food samples)
I am surprised you don't hear about people (especially kids) getting whacked with the carts.

Parking @ San Ramon location can be a nightmare. I don't think they will have enough parking at the Pleasanton location either.

For folks asking "why another Costco"? They should look around and see the multiple starbucks, target, safeway.... 1 is never enough LOL

Posted by Pam Itwin, a resident of Stoneridge,
on Jan 5, 2016 at 11:17 am

Responders would have been informed had they attended the planning meetings. It is horrifying to see how little will be done to improve/widen Johnson dr to accommodate Costco. You can slam Wheeler all you want but when he has to pay overtime for 2-3 light cycles he will likely leave the area taking jobs & known tax base with him. Had you attended any planning meetings you would have witnessed first hand the nominal road improvement & shocked that Johnson dr will remain 2 lanes from Costco to Owens.
The largest concern is how gamey planning staff are about fee forgiveness, financing of the road construction that will be done, how long Costco will be forgiven re: taxes to entice them to come here.
Another fiscal concern is that Costco money does not stay local as local business money does. It goes upward to shareholders & internally. The small business owners invest their profit back into our community unlike any huge business. We will likely loose small businesses & they are the heart of our community.
Pleasanton would fare better with a convention Center & more hotels.

Stoneridge is already slammed by traffic avoiding 580 to Get to Luvermore.

Posted by Yvonne Cevello, a resident of Stoneridge,
on Jan 5, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Pleasanton...the city of planned progress. Phooey! There is so much growth and population, what did we think would happen? If any more businesses are built, they had better have parking built under the buildings as well as surrounding them.
As for traffic!!! How will that be handled? We were promised a gas station nearby when we moved into Stoneridge 45 years ago. Water, sewer, infrastructure updating, traffic well is that planned?
If the entrance is from Gibralter Dr. There will be nightmare traffic on Hopyard, but that would be better than from Johnson Dr., I guess. Like to shop at Costco but...

Posted by very concerned, a resident of Stoneridge,
on Jan 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm

I went to multiple meetings regarding the potential Costco, and walked away shaking my head. Based on the traffic projections, the traffic gets twice as bad AFTER 15 to 20 million dollars of roadway improvements. In addition, when they actually showed the projected sales tax Pleasanton gets, it was surprisingly low. I do not think that spending millions of dollars and wrecking traffic on both Stoneridge and Hopyard are worth it to save a 5 minute drive down the freeway.

It will be easier to park though. If you consider being stuck in gridlock on Johnson Dr. "parking," you will get your wish.

Posted by Corey, a resident of Val Vista,
on Jan 6, 2016 at 11:22 am

If you attended the previous community meetings you would know that they have done NO studies about the impact to residents that live close to this area, but instead, just the Johnson Drive area. How can you build something like this less than 1 mile from a large residential neighborhood, less than 1 mile from a children's park & soccer fields, and less than 2 miles from an elementary school without considering the impacts? Maybe you don't really want to know??

Secondly, that last I knew, they could not mitigate the traffic or the air pollution back down to acceptable levels including down to Pleasanton's own regulations.

So, in a nutshell: No understand of the localized impact on residents standard of living, No ability to handle the increased traffic flow, and No way to deal with the increased pollution, but we still move forward...

In a situation like this, we really need to ask ourselves (Pleasanton residents only please): Why would we continue forward? Does Pleasanton actually need the revenue or is it just a nice to have? The last I heard, Pleasanton wasn't struggling with income. We all want to make more money, cities included, but not to the detriment of the citizens that actually make up our city.

Posted by Roz, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jan 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Personally,there are no neighborhoods in that specific area. The Stoneridge freeway on-ramp,northbound,is the most dangerous entrance,exiting Pleasanton. On-ramp flooding,dangerous merging conditions,general traffic conditions to Stoneridge Mall(especially holidays),Kaiser appointments etc. are concerns that must be mitigated. Pleasanton neighborhoods have not cared about each other,for years.

Posted by gerald3, a resident of Pheasant Ridge,
on Apr 3, 2016 at 2:31 pm

gerald3 is a registered user.

At the last community meeting, Pleasanton's traffic engineer spent a great deal of time explaining that they needed to add a third left turn lane at Johnson and Stoneridge to keep the expected traffic from backing up on Northbound 680. When asked about the need to widen the bridge to provide a lane to return the 680 traffic, that was knocked as not necessary since they know that CalTrans will not approve or pay for widening the bridge. Its three lanes on the South side to Mall traffic can easily get on 680. Right now, West bound traffic over the bridge often backs to Johnson Drive, especially at 5 PM and in the months before Christmas as everyone heads to the Mall. I guess the 680 traffic just will have to levitate over to Southbound 680

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