Construction ‘full-tilt boogie’ on Costco project alderman says

Work on the Ridgeland Costco finally appears to be moving forward, thanks to several weeks of dry weather.

“They’ve been going full-tilt boogie to get the gas station opened by January and the store opened by March 1,” said Ward One Alderman Ken Heard. “They’ve been going strong since it got dried out.”

Last week crews appeared to be making significant progress at the sites of the Costco Wholesale and Costco fueling station on Highland Colony Parkway.

Plans are for the fuel center to open in early January and the store to open its doors to the public March 1. Meanwhile, construction on both facilities are expected to wrap up December 28, Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee said.

The mayor announced in 2015 that developers Andrew Mattiace and H.C. Bailey were bringing the store to the city as part of the third phase of Renaissance at Colony Park.

The much anticipated, yet highly controversial project has been hampered by numerous weather delays brought on by one of the wettest years in Mississippi history.

Work also has been challenged every step of the way through the court system.

“Lawsuits complicate things but (the developers) are moving forward,” McGee told the Sun previously. “The investment is there and they’re moving forward.”

After announcing the store would open in the spring of 2019, the store opening was pushed back to the summer. Company officials told the Sun in August that plans were to begin welcoming customers in early 2020.

With construction moving forward, those hopes likely will be realized.

“They’ve rough-surfaced it. That’s the base before they pour the asphalt,” Heard said. “They’ve done the first steps of the foundation so far.”

McGee is pleased the project is moving forward. He said the addition of new stores, like Costco, is needed to help keep taxes low for residents.

“The only sensible way for us to continue to keep taxes low without cutting services … is to benefit from economic development,” he said.

The store is expected to generate around $47,617 a year in new property taxes for the city, $77,830 a year in new property taxes for Madison County and $127,957 for the Madison County School District.

The wholesaler would generate an additional $1.3 million a year in new sales tax dollars for the city, McGee said.

That $1.3 million would increase annual sales tax revenues for the city by nearly 10 percent. For fiscal years 2018 and 2019, the city received $13.4 million and $13.3 million in sales tax diversions respectively.

Initially, A portion of the sales and property taxes collected by the city will go to retire millions of dollars in a tax-increment financing (TIF) bond the city approved for the project.

In 2016, the Ridgeland mayor and board approved issuing up to $12.5 million in TIFs for the third phase of the Renaissance project.

The TIF will be used to reimburse developers for the costs of installing public infrastructure associated with their projects, such as roads and sidewalks.

For this project, developers will be reimbursed for the construction of a water retention pond and a weir along Purple Creek.

Bonds won’t be issued until the completion of the entire third phase is finished, and the total amount issued will be based on actual sales and property taxes generated.

Under terms of the agreement, Ridgeland plans to dedicate 100 percent of the project’s increase in ad valorem taxes and 50 percent of the increase in sales taxes to repayments.

Property taxes going to the school district will not be affected.

The third phase will be located on a 45-acre parcel along Highland Colony south of the Old Agency Road roundabout. Costco, which will be located on the south side of that acreage, will be the anchor tenant in the development.

Developers couldn’t be reached for comment.

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