Guilderland ZBA approves Costco

— From Crossgates Releaseco, LLC

The Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals on May 4 approved the proposed Costco Wholesale store near Crossgates Mall. The 158,000-square-foot price club will be located at the corner of Western Avenue and Crossgates Mall Road, and include an 18-pump gas station and enough parking for 770 vehicles, as well as eight electric-vehicle charging stations.

GUILDERLAND — All four of the Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals members who voted at Wednesday’s meeting approved the special-use permit for a proposed Costco Wholesale store on Western Avenue.

The May 3 approval comes after years of legal wrangling over the project.

Alternate Stephen Albert stepped in for the vote after members Kevin McDonald and Sharon Cupoli recused themselves.

McDonald had been part of a group of Westmere residents who unsuccessfully sued to stop the broader three-parcel project, which included the Costco, 222 Rapp Road housing units, and a yet-to-be-determined proposal. 

The lawsuit was mentioned among the factors weighed by the zoning board in its consideration for approving the special-use permit

Chairwoman Elizabeth Lott, reading the finding, said, “The permissibility of the project’s use was fully litigated in Hart v. Town of Guilderland … where the court found, ‘In essence, although the Costco store may, to some, not be the most compatible use, the planning board properly viewed it in the context of the entire project.” The planning board was sued because it had OK’d the initial three-parcel project.

Lott continued, “As such, the planning board considered not only the fact that the Costco store is a permitted use that complied with all of the design standards … but also the other tangible benefits of the project … These factors included pedestrian and bicycle accommodations and improvements. 

“Also, the planning board considered access management and transit improvements in design and layout, including the reduction of lanes on Crossgates Mall Road, the construction of a new roundabout to process traffic more efficiently, the reconfiguration of a major intersection to reduce vehicular speed, and a new CDTA bus stop.”

A supermajority of the board — four of five — was needed to vote in favor of the project because the Albany County Planning Board disapproved it. 

Lott said a memo would be sent to the county planning board, explaining why the zoning board approved Costco. The memo would be made available on the town website, she said.

The 158,000-square-foot price club will be located at the corner of Western Avenue and Crossgates Mall Road, and include an 18-pump gas station and enough parking for 770 vehicles, as well as eight electric-vehicle charging stations.

Costco signed a 25-year lease with options on the site in October 2021.

The approval comes as Pyramid deals with $245 million in Crossgates Mall loans set to mature this month. 

Pyramid will have to pay off, walk away from, or refinance the loans. Refinancing could prove difficult due to Fitch downgrading nearly $59 million of the debt in March over concerns the company wouldn’t be able to refinance the loan, and by Moody’s due to its imminent default.

The remaining mortgages were downgraded by Moody’s  — but also acknowledged as up-to-date with their principal and interest payments — in February and April because of their transfers to special servicing due to their imminent default.

The company still has an outstanding request to the Guilderland Industrial Development Agency to grant the $40 million Costco project $475,000 in tax exemptions: $400,000 in sales tax relief and a $75,000 break on the state’s mortgage-recording tax.

Joined: 01/04/2022 - 18:12
Costco debaucle

More degradation of quality of life as it exists in Guilderland. Roundabouts usually help with congestion but i doubt it will help much in already vibrated Western Ave.
Another sell out with tax breaks?

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