Councilman Brown might have money for the Costco….

This could be great for the development of the NE area….make sure to write DC Council and tell them to make this project happen! It can only help our cause on RIA.

This is from the Washington Business Journal, Friday, February 26, 2010:

Now that Radio One Inc. has pulled out of its long-held plans to move to D.C., the development known as Broadcast Center One will need a new name and a new anchor tenant to go forward. It still has $23 million in city subsidies, including $6 million in tax increment financing, and although Deputy Mayor Valerie Santos and Councilman Jack Evans appear willing to give the developers more time — they’ve had two years — there are scores of other developers who would eagerly put that $6 million TIF toward their own projects, some of which are closer to getting out of the ground.

Enter Councilman Kwame Brown. Brown wants to coax Costco Wholesale Corp. into opening a store on South Dakota Ave. NE but says the project needs — you guessed it — around $5 million to $6 million to get construction financed. So with Radio One pulling out, Brown proposes moving the TIF into the Costco deal, with developer Trammell Crow Co. and Fort Lincoln Realty Co. Inc. The city’s debt limit would not likely be affected. “There is some money there — some savings there — that can be transferred over without messing with the debt cap and can be transferred to Costco,” Brown said.

Brown said although he supports trying to get Northrop Grumman to move its headquarters to D.C., he wouldn’t choose that deal over Costco. Costco could bring Target Corp. with it, possibly spark new housing in Fort Lincoln and would cost a fraction of what it would probably take to attract the defense giant — a deal, he said, for which “most normal people won’t see a benefit.”

“We can’t give [the neighborhoods] promises and then give downtown the reality,” Brown says.

7 thoughts on “Councilman Brown might have money for the Costco….

  1. This issue over Costco coming to Fort Lincoln has been going on for well over 7 years. Back then, I remember attending a joint ANC5A meeting in Ft. Lincoln. There must have been over 100 people in attendance. The WBJ article states “Costco could bring Target Corp. with it.” If Target can’t come on its own, will it also need the TIF? I’ve spoken to many people who commute daily along the NY Ave/BW Parkway corridor and feel Costco coming will be a big success. Again, we’ve all be waiting with baited breath.

  2. can someone explain to me how it’s OK to give tax money to a profitable corporation, that we know can handle the start-up costs here in the city and become a profitable entity overall, yet it’s not OK to take a little bit of that money and spend it on local entrepreneurs who are opening small businesses?

    and we talk about wanting a vibrant stretch of small businesses on rhode island avenue, but don’t you think that inviting more big boxes into the city will be a direct impediment to attempted growth on that front?

    sure, having a costco will make a lot of people happy, but it won’t make the city a better place.

    we have our priorities messed up.

  3. The “vibrant stretch of small businesses” will come when there is a reason to come. Having an anchor, like the Costco/Target at this end of the city will show that there is a reason to come to NE. When I tell people at work that I live in NE, they all feel sorry for me or ask where exactly that is. Most people never even think about NE, except the crime, because there is NOTHING worth talking about here. Once there is a reason to think about NE, small businesses will cash in on the big businesses success.

    Also, I realize that there has been talk of this happening for years, however, Costco has actually signed a letter of intent recently, which is a good sign that they are now serious about moving in.

  4. IMGoph,

    Small business are great for some things, but big boxes do a better job on a lot of stuff.

    A lot of DC residents shop at big box stores, whether they’re located in the District or not. Right now, all that money is leaving the District. Why not try to keep that money here? That is what a TIF does, it borrows from future tax revenue to help pay the startup costs of a big store like Costco, because unfortunately, the costs are in the tens of millions for something like that, unlike the corner liquor store. Big business has been hesitant to locate in the District. A TIF helps overcome that hesitation, showing that the city is interested in creating a pro-business environment, something that the city didn’t have for decades.

    I am in favor of assisting small businesses though, although one look at our existing small businesses should show you what that results in: liquor stores, chinese carry outs, used car lots.

    How about we provide incentives for QUALITY small business that serve the entire community instead of just a few?

  5. Totally agreed, Anon. Big businesses often draw smaller businesses into an area. Look at the Columbia Heights shopping area. First Target, Staples, Best Buy, et al, now there are a number of independent shops popping up in the area. The simple fact is that a large big-box store has the financial wherewithal to withstand a startup period that may be slow in a developing neighborhood. They also have instant name recognition and the ability to draw shoppers from surrounding areas. Advertising budgets, security budgets, etc. The foot traffic in a shopping area anchored by a large store may provide a great opportunity for smaller businesses.

    But I agree wholeheartedly that we should support quality small businesses in any way possible. The city has several programs in place to assist small business people, and the new developments in the RI Ave. area incorporate some requirements for small, local business (correct me if I’m wrong but the proposals for Rhode Island Station call for 10% local-owned businesses, I think). Of course more programs would be ideal, but with the state of the city budget, I’m not sure how forthcoming those will be.

  6. Just attended the ANC5A meeting tonight. Harry Thomas Jr. told us that the official announcement for Costco coming to Fort Lincoln will be released in just a few days. Commissioner King of ANC5A-12 where the Costco will be located and Richard Norwood, the Ward 5 Coordinator, re-iterated this news. It was also announced that there will be NO Target at that location. They said Target decided to locate someplace else.

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