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New Costco gas station set to open in Kirkland May 24 | Slideshow

The construction in the Kirkland Costco parking lot can be seen from the freeway. Big machines tearing up the asphalt to make way for a parking lot expansion is not generally a very interesting topic. But when it is part of a project that has to do with discount gas - that is a story.

The business that was once headquartered in Kirkland is finally building a gas station to the delight of customers.

“I’ll use it,” said Redmond resident Iola Stetson, who shops at the Kirkland Costco. “We use the Woodinville (Costco gas station) and it is 30 cents cheaper.”

But it has been a long time coming as the Kirkland location was the last in Washington State to get a gas station, said John McKay, executive vice president COO of Costco’s Northern Division and mid-west region.

“The city was pretty good to work with,” noted McKay. “(There was) the lake and a number of other mitigating circumstances. There was some hesitancy on our part.”

Costco is in the process of building the new discount gas station in the parking lot directly north of the main building. Costco management confirmed an open date of May 24.

“Most Costco gas stations are six or eight pumps - this will be a 10-pump gas station. This is a fairly large one,” said Wayne Bowman of Ferguson Construction.

Ferguson Construction broke ground on the project on March 26 and recently installed the three gigantic gas tanks, two for unleaded and one for premium gas. A fourth tank will be placed soon for additives that go into the fuel.

The company began the work on the gas station in 2009 when they applied for changes with the City of Kirkland.

“The zoning regulations were amended for gas station use,” said City of Kirkland Senior Planner Janice Coogan. “They even met with the neighborhood association up there several years ago. This has been in the works for quite a few years.”

But the work comes with some conditions from the city. Costco has to install sidewalks from 120th Ave. N.E. to 123rd Ave. N.E. on N.E. 90th Street. “They are also improving the pedestrian walkway on N.E. 90th Street to Slater Ave. N.E.,” said Coogan. “They are reconfiguring the existing parking lot and adding landscaping.”

The reconfiguration of the parking lot will also give the store more parking than it started with, said McKay.

Costco has also agreed to upgrade the crosswalk from the main building to a small parking lot they own across 120th Ave. N.E. with pedestrian lights.

The business had to submit a traffic impact study to the city. The traffic impacts are not as great compared to a new business being built because patrons of the business have to be Costco members and most are already there to do other shopping.

But McKay did not deny that it will add more traffic to the area.

“It’s already congested, who cares,” said Stetson.

Other customers were not worried because the gas station will be at the northern-most point of the parking lot.

“I am not worried about the parking, they will be waiting in line for gas,” said Costco member Gayle Guthrie.

Neighbors in the area voiced their concern back in 2009 and 2010 when Costco submitted the proposal to the city.

The company expects more memberships as a result of the new gas station.

“We get a few sign-ups from new folks,” said McKay.

Costco got its start in Seattle but was headquartered in Kirkland from 1987-1996 before moving to Issaquah. Its signature line of products, Kirkland, are named for the city. Costco has 568 stores in 40 states and on four continents.

McKay said that the company considers the Kirkland location as one of its marquee stores.

 

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