By Paul Hayes
Discount retail giant Costco has been given the green light for its second Australian location, with the NSW government today approving plans for its proposed Sydney store.
The $59.7 million, 14,000 square metre warehouse store is set for development on Parramatta Road, at Auburn in the city’s west.
Approval for the new mega-store comes after vocal protests from existing and surrounding retailers, who believe such a store is anti-competitive and will drain their customer base and impact sales.
The store’s location has also been called into question, with the Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) saying the site is inadequate for such a large retailer and that placing Costco in Auburn misses an opportunity to strengthen or revitalise an existing area.
With the project set to create up to 130 jobs during construction and a further 230 ongoing positions, the NSW government has dismissed the SCCA’s fears.
“This project will be a valuable new addition to the Auburn area, boosting jobs in this key economic corridor and supporting the development of a large format retail development along Parramatta Road,” said planning minister, Tony Kelly.
State premier, Kristina Keneally, agrees the new store will have a positive impact on the area.
“The site itself is part of the Auburn Council’s strategic vision to revitalise this area as a large format retail precinct and will help council as it finalises its local environment plan.”
Costco opened its first store in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct in August last year, with thousands of customer since paying the $55-$60 membership fee for access to its heavily discounted prices.
The company estimates its Sydney store will open its doors in mid-2011.