On-again, off-again negotiations to put a Costco store in north Auburn have ended with no agreement.
Placer County officials announced that they were notified Monday by Costco Wholesale Corp. that the company had decided to terminate its exclusive agreement to negotiate with the county to locate a proposed store at the Placer County Government Center.
“We respect Costco’s decision to not pursue a store location at the government center campus,” Ken Grehm, county public works and facilities director, said in a written statement. “We’re still excited about what the future holds for the campus, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with the community about the opportunities the master plan update presents.”
The agreement with Placer County was signed in October 2015. County officials said Costco provided no details on its reason for ending the agreement.
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The Washington-state-based retailer in February 2015 abruptly canceled its option to a ground lease on 16 acres in the government center. That decision came after several years of negotiations by Costco to bring a store to the Auburn area. The location at the government center, off Highway 49, was considered ideal to draw residents from Grass Valley and the Placer County foothills.
Costco and the county had been sued by the city of Auburn for allegedly failing to follow state environmental regulations. Costco settled the lawsuit for $25,000 and agreed in October 2015 to resume talks with the county.
The plan had generated controversy because several small businesses were being forced to move to make way for the store. But that issue became moot after two of the most vocal tenants, a theater company and the Auburn Senior Center, found new homes. The county paid $530,000 to move the senior center.
Placer County is updating the master plan for the 200-acre government center, a plan that was last updated in 1993. Project planners continue to seek public input on new potential uses for the campus, including commercial and residential development, as well as a community center for all ages, according to a county news release.