NEW ORLEANS, LA — Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Costco Wholesale Corporation executives and other dignitaries celebrated the first Costco store opening in Louisiana during a ribbon cutting ceremony. The new 148,000 square foot membership-only retail warehouse will officially open Saturday, September 21, 2013, on 3900 Dublin Street in New Orleans. The global retailer will introduce 200 permanent jobs into the local economy and is expected to generate a $21 million direct fiscal impact to the City over a 10-year period.
“We’re excited to deliver on our promise for more quality retail, more jobs and more neighborhood revitalization,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu, noting the success of the catalytic $45 million redevelopment project which was once home to the Carrollton Shopping Center that remained dormant years after Hurricane Katrina. “Costco will attract shoppers from around the region and help us grow our City’s tax base.”
Costco is known for offering quality, brand name merchandise at substantially low prices and for offering the largest and most exclusive product category selections to be found under a single roof.
“Our warehouse is located on a site that was cleared by Hurricane Katrina and in need of restoration", said Pete Carter, General Manager of Costco New Orleans. “It is at the epicenter of the overall NOLA community and allows us to serve the entire metro from one convenient location. Like the 2,000 caissons that were sunk to support our building, Costco is looking to establish roots in the neighborhood and to be an actively contributing and responsible corporate citizen.”
“We are pleased to have helped bring New Orleans its first Costco, which is well known for offering its members outstanding values on high quality merchandise. This new addition to the Carrollton Shopping Center builds on our long track record of investment in the New Orleans community and reflects our ongoing commitment to the economic renaissance of the region. We would also like to thank Mayor Landrieu, Councilmember Guidry and the many others who helped make today’s opening possible,” said Jeffrey Feil of the Feil Organization, which owns the site.
Several Costco executives, including Chairman Jeffrey H. Brotman, President and CEO W. Craig Jelinek and General Manager Pete Carter participated in the ceremony.
District A Councilmember Susan G. Guidry and City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson also participated in the ceremony, as did Xavier University of Louisiana Provost Dr. Loren Blanchard.
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell, District D Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and District E Councilmember James Gray also attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Watch Costco ribbon cutting
Costco and the City worked closely together on this project starting in spring 2011, from site selection to today’s opening. Costco and various city departments and agencies partnered on neighborhood engagement, smart incentives, infrastructure improvements, creating opportunities for local and disadvantaged businesses and engaging residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and the City in the job opportunities.
“Costco is bringing new retail options, new jobs and new tax dollars to our City, but it has also set the standard for how an effective partnership between the public sector and the private sector can add value and produce even greater positive impact for our citizens,” said Aimee Quirk, Mayor Landrieu’s Advisor for Economic Development, who led the project on behalf of the City. “Through its work with us from the start of this project, Costco has shown a deep commitment to this community even before it has opened its doors.”
Costco partnered with the City to ensure neighborhood participation in the early stages of project design and planning. With the assistance of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement, Costco engaged with residents of the surrounding neighborhoods through a series of meetings during the planning process. Costco then incorporated feedback received from the community into its plans, which were ultimately approved by the City Planning Commission and the City Council.
The City facilitated the project by making needed public infrastructure improvements and contributing toward on-site costs of the project. Public infrastructure improvements undertaken by the Department of Public Works in the immediate surrounding area include street grading improvements, curbing replacement, sidewalk repairs, new traffic signals, and catch basin repair on Palmetto, Dixon, Dublin and Cambronne streets. In addition, the City has made improvements to South Carrollton Avenue in front of the warehouse, adding a left turn lane. These costs were funded by Disaster Community Development Block Grant funds. The City also agreed to contribute to the cost of site elevation work necessary to meet FEMA base elevation height requirements to mitigate flooding and site stabilization, through a five-year reimbursement from a portion of sales taxes to be generated at the warehouse.
The New Orleans Business Alliance performed an economic and fiscal analysis for the City to evaluate the impact of the Costco project, which revealed a direct net fiscal impact over a ten (10) year period is at a minimum expected to be $21 million. That analysis determined that the new tax revenue generated by the project would more than offset the investment by the City. Based on expected sales projections, the City expects to receive a significant net increase in sales tax revenue, even during the five-year reimbursement period.
"Costco's investment in New Orleans for its first Louisiana store is a clear indication that retailers are discovering the multi-billion opportunities in our local, and largely underserved, retail market," said Rodrick T. Miller, President & CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance. "With over 1.5 million square feet of new retail development to be completed by 2014, New Orleans' rapid and unprecedented retail growth will create jobs, increase the City's tax base, provide expanded amenities for residents, and support a vibrant business climate."
In addition, several City agencies have worked to ensure that local residents and businesses were connected to project-related opportunities.
The Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, known as JOB1, worked closely with Costco to fulfill the company’s commitment to hire local residents. JOB1, in collaboration with the Office of Neighborhood Engagement, hosted two employment information sessions earlier this year, which were attended by over 600 residents from in and around the surrounding neighborhoods. To reach and assist more residents interested in seeking employment with Costco, JOB1 deployed its mobile unit into the neighborhoods near the site and made its two career centers available for assistance with Costco’s recruitment and application process. JOB1 also provided targeted customer service training to interested residents to enhance their job readiness.
New Orleans residents of the City will make up 65% of the permanent workforce hired by Costco. The membership-only warehouse club is known for providing some of the best wages and benefits in the retail sector.
To engage local and disadvantaged business enterprises in the project, the Office of Supplier Diversity sponsored two outreach sessions to provide information about opportunities to participate as subcontractors and suppliers. To date, through Costco’s good faith efforts, the on-site work has contributed over $10.4 million to local and disadvantaged firms. The off-site public improvement projects have resulted in over $1.3 million to local and disadvantaged firms.
“I am excited that Costco will bring its unique shopping opportunity to our city and region,” said District A Councilmember Susan G. Guidry. “Costco is an engaged community partner that will provide well-paying full and part time jobs with benefits for our local residents. Costco is anticipated to be one of the biggest commercial draws of tax revenue into our city in recent history, and I welcome this corporate partner to District A. With this development, the Carrollton Corridor reaches full recovery.”
Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “This is the most exciting retail we have ever brought to this city because it’s so complete in meeting the widespread needs of our city: infrastructure, neighborhood input and collaborative planning. I am very grateful to Aimee Quirk and the rest of the Mayor’s economic development team, Councilmember Susan Guidry and her staff, and the NOLA Business Alliance for bringing this project to fruition!”
Councilmember-at-Large Stacy Head said, “The grand opening of Costco represents another major milestone in our retail renaissance. The Carrollton neighborhood, as well as the entire city of New Orleans, has been eagerly awaiting this day. This area was vibrant pre-Katrina and home to many retailers that served the neighbors well. Today, we celebrate its return to commerce and commend Costco leadership for their commitment to New Orleans, their dedication to hiring from the community, and their work to further transform one of our significant commercial corridors.”
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, “I am looking forward to shopping in the City of New Orleans, especially knowing that 200 individuals will have quality jobs with livable wages and benefits because of this new retail center. New Orleans is on move!”
"The opening of Louisiana's first Costco in Mid-City demonstrates the economic vitality of our entire region, including neighborhoods that face challenges, “said District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer. “Great community partners like Costco are key to our continued growth."