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West Miami-Dade

Costco wants to relocate store to Mall of the Americas


If you go

What: Westchester Community Council meeting

When: 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 15

Where: Ruben Dario Middle School, 350 NW 97th Ave.

Costco wants to move a store to the Mall of the Americas from another nearby shopping center.

The retailer plans to tear down the existing AMC 14 move theaters and modify adjoining areas of the mall, 7757 W. Flagler St., to accommodate the new wholesale club store.

The company will also build one of its members-only gas stations next to the new store, with a proposed 18 pumps. The station will be placed near the intersection of Northwest 79th Avenue and Northwest Second Street.

The Westchester Community Council will discuss the project at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 15 at Ruben Dario Middle School, 350 NW 97th Ave.

Given the mall’s location — west of the Palmetto Expressway, south of the Dolphin Expressway and north of West Flagler Street — traffic could be an issue.

As a general rule, Florida law requires that roads needed to support a development must be in place by the time the development opens, a requirement known as “concurrency.”

A traffic impact study conducted for Costco by Richard Garcia and Associates Inc. indicated that the project would increase delays at two nearby intersections. Engineers rate intersections using school-like letter grades, and according to the study the intersection at Flagler Street and 79th Avenue would drop from a C to a D, while the intersection of 79th Avenue and a median opening to the mall would drop from an A to a B.

Miami-Dade County’s Traffic Review Section said in a memo that concurrency determinations will need to happen before building begins. In an email, they added that any plans to mitigate those potential traffic issues will be addressed when the company applies for a building permit.

Miami-Dade County planners also indicated in a memo that the construction must include a new traffic light at Northwest 79th Avenue and the driveway north of the gas station that leads into the mall, but they had no other concerns.

Moving to malls has worked before for Costco. Earlier this year, a store opened in a mall in Wheaton, Md. And shortly after the Costco opened in the Westfield Wheaton mall, according to a report from a local newspaper, The Gazette, new businesses began to surround the area and foot traffic to that area of the mall increased.

A similar plan worked in a suburb of Atlanta when Costco replaced a JCPenney in 2006 as an anchor store for the Cumberland Mall during a period of redevelopment for the mall, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

The Sterling Organization, which owns the Mall of the Americas, and Costco declined to comment on the developments.

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