Costco pursues new Business Center store in Anchorage at former Sam's Club at Tikahtnu Commons - Anchorage Daily News

By Alex DeMarban

Updated: December 19, 2022 Published: December 18, 2022

Costco Business Center

Costco plans to create a new business center at the Tikahtnu Commons in the former Sam's Club. Photographed Dec. 15, 2022. (Alex DeMarban / ADN)

Warehouse retail giant Costco plans to create a new store in northeast Anchorage at a competitor’s former location, according to records filed with the municipality

The $5.1 million project calls for Costco to renovate the former Sam’s Club in the Tikahtnu Commons mall at 1074 N. Muldoon Road, north of the Glenn Highway, according to city records.

Project officials are seeking a municipal permit to renovate the building and create a Costco Business Center, according to Gretchen Stuller, permit management supervisor for Anchorage.

Plans will “reorient and add parking spaces, add landscape islands, building additions, and repainting and building facade updates,” Craig Lyon, municipal planning director, said in a staff report about the project in November. “These amendments to the overall site plan are small and do not substantially change the function of the commercial shopping center.”

Costco, based in Washington state, operates four warehouse stores in Alaska, and several hundred nationally. Anchorage has two. Juneau and Fairbanks have one.

A Costco Business Center is different from a warehouse store, according to the company’s website.

[ Amazon plans to build a sorting facility at former Sears warehouse in Anchorage ]

Costco operates more than 15 business centers in the U.S., the site says. They are available for any member but cater to small businesses. They offer additional items not found at warehouses. They open earlier, at 7 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. But they’re closed on Sundays.

Contractors who are involved in the project declined to comment. They referred questions to Costco officials, who did not return calls.

The proposed Anchorage store is not listed among the “coming soon” Costco stores set to open within the next four months, according to Costco’s website. An online Costco form for media inquiries went unanswered as of early Friday, but the site included this statement: “We cannot comment on locations that will be opening more than three months from today.”

The municipality has issued an interior demolition permit for the project, Stuller said. The permit allows work to begin at the site, she said.

On Thursday afternoon, the building was closed and appeared empty with no activity underway.

The lot is about 650,000 square feet, similar in size to the Costco off DeBarr Road and smaller than the Costco off Dimond Boulevard.

Alaska’s three Sam’s Club locations closed in 2018 after parent company Walmart Inc. announced it was shutting down about 60 warehouses across the U.S.

Walmart’s decision was based on the company’s need to better align Sam’s Club business strategy with its locations, according to reports at the time. In Alaska, the higher cost of doing business in a remote state was also named as a factor.

[ Earlier coverage: In Fairbanks and rural Alaska, Sam’s Club closing is a ‘major blow’ ]

The Tikahtnu Commons center, including the building that housed the Sam’s Club, is owned by North Anchorage Real Estate Investors.

The company consists of Browman Development Company in California and CIRI, the Alaska Native regional corporation in much of Southcentral Alaska.

The building owners did not provide comment as of Friday morning.

Francis McLaughlin, senior planner with the municipality, said Costco plans to enter into a lease agreement with the owners for the property.

After Sam’s Club closed its Alaska stores, the empty building earlier in the pandemic served as an emergency food distribution site run by the Food Bank of Alaska, following a donation from Walmart for the building’s use.

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