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Yorktown Chamber of Commerce Weighs in on Costco

Yorktown can not afford to turn Costco away!

There is plenty of speculation on the to go around. Here are some facts on why it is imperative Yorktown welcomes the Costco project:

Costco is the third largest retailer in the US with revenues over $89 billion dollars. It employs 161,000 employee's of which 90% are benefits eligible and 98% are enrolled. Its benefit package includes medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, life, disability, and long term care to name a few.

Costco recruits from within the community for which the store is located. It pays an average salary of $22.40 per hour and full time cashiers earn $48,680 per year after five years of employment.

Here are the most important facts:

Costco will pay $1.17 million dollars in school taxes without a single student attending school (student costs are $25,000 per year 2011) and has raised $17 million dollars for children's hospitals in 2011. In addition, Costco contributes back to the community in which each store is located, 1% of pre tax dollars, in this case the store is projected to have annual revenues of $150 million dollars, thus giving back $1.5 million dollars to Yorktown every year the store is in existence.

Since 1993, Costco has donated 4 million backpacks to children in need. Costco has contributed over 1,000 scholarships to needy families. In addition to this, Costco and the DOT have pledged $10 million dollars to road improvements from Strang Boulevard to the Pines Bridge intersection on Rte 202.

Its plan specificlly calls for storm water management controlling heavy rains and eliminating flooding down stream. The will tie in 10-12 homes along Old Crompond Rd at the developers cost. In researching this development, we find in Florida for instance, as well as other communities, many intersections are home to Costco, BJ's, Walmart and K-Mart, endorsing the fact that competition is good.

We could have a wish list for other projects to be built on this site; however, Costco is the only company that has made a substantial investment in Yorktown. Any other community in Westchester would welcome the Costco brand with open arms.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Francis T McVetty January 26, 2012 at 10:19 PM
This site has been vacant TOO long. Lets get a move on to get it built. Don't wait till they change their mind like IBM did, not to far from this site.Just across the parkway.
Francis T McVetty January 26, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Dan, come on go to the meetings and ask your questions. Mr. Visconti is giving an over view of the operation and I'm sure he isn't an engineer. Maybe you are? You could also do a search on Google about the COSTCO operation. The bottom line is that the property is not only an eye sore but does not bring in any revenue to our town. If it employed 50 employees, it is more than are employed there now. You were probably sitting on the planning board way back then, when IBM wanted to expand its operation on Strang Blvd. We all know how that turned out.
Yorktown-Smart-Growth January 27, 2012 at 03:31 PM
While the Chamber of Commerce provides great value to our town, I just wonder whether it's not being slightly star-struck by the possibility of this retail giant courting Yorktown. As someone with some experience of large retailers and their tactics in gaining footholds in local communities, I can tell what is going on is a PR charm offensive and while there is nothing wrong with that, as a community we have to look longer term than that. Free sewers for surrounding homes, but what about their property values when sited next to a big box store? $10 million in road improvements for the immediate vicinity, but what about the back-ups generated by additional traffic? $1 million in additional taxes revenue, but what about the additional costs imposed on the community, such as extra police, time lost in traffic etc? The charm offensive is not unlike dating but corporations are from Mars and communities are like Venus. Each marches to the beat of its own drum, and as a community, Yorktown must look out for its own interests, which in my book, would avoid becoming like Florida at all costs!
Jonathan Nettelfield January 27, 2012 at 03:35 PM
My apologies. The above post was incorrectly sent in under Yorktown Smart Growth (of which I am a member). It should have been posted under my name.
Paul Moskowitz January 27, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Traffic? I avoid driving on Route 202 in the morning and evenings on weekdays and in the afternoon on Saturday because the traffic is so bad. The last traffic study that was done said that there were 2000 cars per hour on 202 at the Taconic intersection. How many will Costco add? Their initial statement was 758 cars per hour. This is probably an understimate. How will 202 absorb this additional traffic? Some may go on local roads. Others will add to the congestion creating a giant gridlock. Do we want this?
Bill January 27, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Frank, I already pointed out in an earlier thread that your information about IBM on Strang Blvd was wrong. The project being worked on there was killed and had nothing to do with them going to Somers, which happened many years later. I believe your claim was that they wanted to expand on Strang and built Somers instead. That is just plain wrong.
Bill January 27, 2012 at 06:31 PM
This whole "big box stores are evil" argument is so ridiculous. Tell me how things have worked out for Cortlandt with their zero tax increases, which I am sure is thanks in some part to the Cortlandt Town Center. Yorktown foolishly rejected a development project on 202 many years ago which would have held Home Depot. The reason was that we needed the state to fix the traffic on 202 first and they were going to do it "soon". I am not going to say that there are not traffic problems on 202. But the improvements haven't happened and it should be very clear that it's not going to happen until a developer is allowed to come in and pay for it. Residents from the area drive to Brookfield, Port Chester, etc. to shop at Costco. It would be a major coup for Yorktown to have one and it might even help fill the empty spots on 202 where car dealerships have closed, since there will be more people coming to the area. There isn't even one in Dutchess County and people from there might come to Yorktown to shop at Costco. They are a great employer and a great place to shop and should be allowed (and even encouraged) to open here.
Jonathan Nettelfield January 27, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Costco is not "evil" but putting one there is not a great idea. It is contrary to the vision enshrined in the Comp Plan (which we all paid for) which calls for an urban hamlet in the Bear Mountain Parkway Triangle. This would be a mix of retail, office, entertainment and residential, something the residents of Yorktown identified as "the kind of town" they wanted for the future. Putting a category-killer big box store there would kill the creation, forever, of that kind of forward-thinking planning entity as urban hamlets and big box stores don't mix. It would be a shame to snuff out a real opportunity for Yorktown to create a 21st Century planning solution for a short-term, 20th Century kind of fix. Secondly the traffic, unfortunately, will not be "improved" by the developer. A couple of extra turning lanes on 202 will help move traffic on and off the major north/south route and will help in the immediate vicinity of 202/35. What it won't do is help with the back-ups all along 202/35 that already exist at busy periods and while you are sitting in existing traffic, imagine another 750 vehicles added to that flow each hour. I'm sorry to say that no developer is going to pay to solve those kinds of issues, so it appears the Town strategy, to build and then solve the traffic problems (by passing the buck to the State?), will mean that it will be the residents of Yorktown and surrounding towns that will pay for it...in lost time and frustration.
Jennie Sunshine January 27, 2012 at 07:21 PM
COSTCO = GRIDLOCK: When I hear that between 700 to 1000 Costco customers/hour will be utilizing 202; AND the super large Mac Costco delivery trucks will likely be traveling from 684, through 35 and all the way down 202 (because they cannot use the Taconic); AND one can only imagine the immense line of cars waiting to get inexpensive gas in the Costco parking area - thus creating an enormous back-up of vehicles onto 202.... When 202...is also home to the Yorktown police station, ambulance service and our only major avenue to our closest major hospital, The Hudson Valley Hospital Center... How can you assure me that if I need to get my children to a hospital at any time of day...that they will be able to get there as quickly as possible? No amount of road improvements will help this issue, I'm afraid. This project is too big for our area. And by the way, I'm SO sure that for a myriad of reasons, other more exclusive Westchester towns like Armonk, Katona, Chappaqua, Pound Ridge or North or South Salem...would NEVER approve of such a huge big box store coming to their Town. We're a nice town too. Why should we say, "yes" to urban sprawl...and the likely blight that will come with it?
Babette Ballinger January 27, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Mr. Visconti. I personally spoke to the towns of New Milford (Danbury Costco) and Port Chester to ask them about some of the "facts" you throw around. Milford gets real estate taxes from the developer, roughly $750,000 per year. Additionally in Ct since they have no sales tax they get an inventory tax-roughly 35,000 per year- That's it!!! Port Chester made various "deals" with their developer so they don't get real estate tax- and they, like Yorktown, get a small piece of sales tax that is divided per capita thruout all of Westchester- Additionally I was told that they have been trying to document how many workers are actually from Port Chester and what their average wages are and they are having "trouble" getting any figures disclosed- NO ONE had a clue about a 1%-Where is this documented? You consistently throw figures around- Where are you getting them from? I have no objection to Costco as a company- I have driven thru Oregon and seen how they control all the small towns retail operations-and the huge lines at the gas pumps and the lack of competition and the empty gas stations- I don't think this is a vision of what we want for Yorktown- We have enough empty box stores here- Where are your facts? FACTS PLEASE- not conjecture and rumor!!!
Bill January 27, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Did you ask all of the schools, non-profits in those areas if they had gotten donations from Costco? I am sure they do not funnel their donations through the town. And CT sales tax works differently than in NY, as I would have thought an expert like yourself would know. There is a single state sales tax. In CT. In NY, there is a state piece, and a county piece (plus MTA) and some portion of the county piece does go to the local towns. I am sure that Costco will take some business from the local gas stations, and maybe even cause the pricing to go down at those other stations for those who are not members. Do you care if Sammy (who owns most of the stations) loses some business so you can save 20c (or more) per gallon on gas?
Bill January 27, 2012 at 07:54 PM
You make it seem like there are no other big stores getting deliveries in the area or with customers. How do you think BJ's gets it's deliveries? By air? You have a major UPS depot in the middle of town that obviously gets trucks bring stuff in and out. I don't see people complaining about that. Even KMart must get lots of deliveries.
Babette Ballinger January 27, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Actually Bill, I was only responding to the points Mr Visconti said are facts- that "Costco contributes back to the community 1% of pre tax dollars, in this case the store is projected to have annual revenues of $150 million dollars, thus giving back $1.5 million dollars to Yorktown every year the store is in existence." I question the documentation of these "facts". And while I appreciate your crediting me with expertise I don't have, I just want to make sure I understand the truth as a concerned citizen-so I ask questions and look for "real " answers-not conjecture-
Bill January 27, 2012 at 08:04 PM
They make donations in "markets where we do business." (see below). I'm sure it would not all go to Yorktown. http://shop.costco.com/about/charitable-giving.aspx "We specifically focus on programs supporting children, education and health and human services. The United Way, Children’s Hospital and the Red Cross are a major focus in our charitable giving. Costco Wholesale is committed to supporting charitable and community activities in the markets where we do business."
Jonathan Nettelfield January 27, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Virtually every major corporation that generates revenue in towns will play "good corporate citizen" and donate etc. As do local businesses although they may not have as deep pockets. This is as it should be and helps cement relationships between businesses and their customers....Public Relations 101! However to show favor to a major retailer based on just their charitable giving would be akin to an Indian tribe getting excited about the wampum offered for their land. Great for the short term but it didn't work out well for them long term.
Francis T McVetty January 27, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Paul, What traffic study? 2000 cars per hour? 202 doesn't look like a three lane highway to me. The only time you see that amount of vehicles is at 4:00 pm, maybe.
Francis T McVetty January 27, 2012 at 10:32 PM
[When 202...is also home to the Yorktown police station, ambulance service and our only major avenue to our closest major hospital, The Hudson Valley Hospital Center] Really. You mean that the hospitals in Valhalla and Mt Kisco are closed? ...
Jennie Sunshine January 28, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Bill: That's right, all delivery trucks must use the 684/35/202 corridor, but non are as enormous as this Costco will be. There is no store equal it's size anywhere nearby. It will be larger than a Walmart or a Home Depot.
Jennie Sunshine January 28, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Francis: Clearly you are not thinking. When one is ill enough to need an Emergency Room, one needs to get to the NEAREST one. Hudson Valley Hospital Center on 202, close to the Peeksill area is the closest one. Without traffic, it takes only 10 minutes to get to HVHC with no traffic. The next closest hospital is Northern Westchester Hospital, which takes at least 25 minutes to get to with little to no traffic.
Bill January 28, 2012 at 03:37 AM
I don't know the exact sizes but I am sure it is not significantly larger than BJ's, Walmart or Home Depot. Even your typical supermarket these days is 60-70,000 square feet. So what are we talking, the size of two supermarkets at the most? Would you be talking like the sky was falling if 2 new supermarkets opened on Route 202? You folks talk like this is a decade ago before BJ's came to town and the Cortlandt Town Center opened. The world has not come to an end because they opened and enlightened people would even say that it has improved their quality of life. Your "this is the worst thing to ever happen to Yorktown and live as we know it will dramatically change" nonsense isn't going to play anymore. You managed to kill Home Depot over a decade ago and I don’t think that the town board is going to make that mistake again. BTW you conveniently forget to mention that we have a rather large KMart in town (where Caldor once was) and I am sure that most of you folks would have killed to have a Target there instead. That's a big store. None of those towns you mentioned have any large stores because there's no room for them. Why didn't you include Mt. Kisco in your list of towns? It's really most similar to Yorktown.
Bill January 28, 2012 at 03:37 AM
A co-worker today told me that he was talking to one of the posters in this thread and they decided that he would not like Costco because he does not buy in bulk. It shows how clueless some people are about Costco (and obviously BJ's as well since the same is true for them). Yes, they sell some food items in bulk but much of what they sell is in very reasonable quantities. They sell books at 40% discount, no need to buy more than one. They sell rotisserie chickens for $5, in quantities of one. They sell TV's and electronics, yes, quantity one.
Bobby Ackerman January 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Yorktown... Wake up. Mr. Visconti is absolutely right. Any town should be thrilled and welcome Costco with open arms. They are a first class, highly successful organization with a stellar reputation of doing the right thing. Visit any Costco anywhere and you'll find above average motivated employees selling above average merchandise at terrific prices. Success and Excellence breed more of the same! Local businesses will prosper. The tax base will have a major contributor and more people will have jobs. What's worse? More traffic or higher taxes? The State will eventually get the traffic situation right. Costco will have the weight to get the State to move. Yorktown... associate with Excellence. Costco is clearly Excellence and Excellence is contagious!
Mark Lieberman January 29, 2012 at 11:04 PM
The Chamber of Commerce should represent all it's members. The following is a quote from www.wikinvest.com. Costco earns it's revenue by competing with other companies in the area. "Costco's merchandise categories include: Sundries (23% of Net Sales): Sundries is Costco's largest segment by revenue and includes the sales of candy, snack foods, tobacco, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and cleaning and institutional supplies. Hardlines (19% of Net Sales): The hardlines segment sells major appliances, electronics, health and beauty aids, hardware, office supplies, garden and patio, sporting goods, furniture, and automotive supplies. Food (21% of Net Sales): This segment is responsible for the sale of dry and institutionally packaged foods (oatmeal, rice, cereal, etc.) The food segment is Costco's second largest segment. Softlines (10% of Net Sales): Softlines is Costco's smallest business segment and is responsible for the sale of apparel, domestics, jewelry, housewares, media, home furnishings, cameras, and small appliances (toasters, microwaves). Fresh Food (12% of Net Sales): The fresh food segment is responsible for the sale of meat, bakery goods, deli and produce. Ancillary and Other (15% of Net Sales): The ancillary and other business segment is in charge of the company's gas stations, pharmacy, food court, optical, one-hour photo, hearing aid, and travel products."
Jonathan Nettelfield January 29, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Yes, I too was scratching my head on that one! Let me see. Here are the alternatives: A brand new village business hamlet with plenty of opportunities for local entrepreneurs and existing local businesses to site their offerings (as envisioned by the Comp Plan)...... OR A big box store that will suck the oxygen out of the local economy and send it's profits to its management and shareholders. I can understand a homeowner getting excited by "better shopping", but a local Chamber of Commerce?
Bill January 30, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Did you know that Costco was originally started so businesses could buy items cheaper for their own use? That many small restaurants use them to buy supplies? That non-retail businesses buy supplies there? They still have business memberships and extended hours for business members. Given that the Chamber has all sorts of members, the case can easily be made that they ARE working in the interests of their members by encouraging Costco to move in. How many other companies have joined the Chamber and participated in their community event before they even had permission to build? Enough with the dire predictions of killing the local economy. This isn't Walmart, and even they haven't killed their competition in Cortlandt. Everyone says that they want Whole Foods and Trader Joes (which isn't happening, but let's not bother with reality). Why aren't they as concerned about damaging a small local merchant like Mrs. Green's? And who's going to buy the property and develop a new village business hamlet? The town? What you describe sounds like some someone's dream that could never be practical. There was a presentation to the town board for a shopping center there with upscale stores a couple of years ago. To the best of my knowledge that never went any further (and obviously the developer no longer has the rights to the land).
Jonathan Nettelfield January 30, 2012 at 03:31 AM
The concept of a warehouse club has long ago migrated from being a wholesaler. There's way too much revenue in the direct-to-consumer game to ignore! The main argument against Costco, which I agree is a reputable company, is not that Costco is evil. It is not. It is just that it should not be located in a place that the Comp Plan has laid aside for something visionary and which looks to the future. The future that residents of Yorktown chose and the future that most probably can improve the way we live. By putting a big box store there, any big box store, the chances of any kind of walkable urban hamlet being developed will disappear forever. Dream is precisely what the Comp Plan is. Who says a new village business hamlet "could never be practical"? I agree, today it would be difficult, but that is no reason to throw out what is a great asset, the location, and just take the easy way out. By bowing to current commercial pressure and implementing a 20th century planning regimen, Yorktown would be sacrificing a long-term asset for a short term gain....and there are those of us who are not certain about the gain. Great towns become great by not always taking the easy way. Perhaps today's NY Times article is relevant to this discussion. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/realestate/westchester-in-the-region-trackside-developments-catch-on.html?emc=eta1

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