"The $46 million was for both projects and included everythingfromland acquisition to infrastructure improvements, sitedevelopment andactual construction," says Carrie Flack, plannerwith the city ofKansas City. "It's nice to have theMidtownMarketplace ready to open. It was a plan that was in theworks fornearly 15 years."

Costco, offering bulk buy discounts, will be bumping elbows withthelikes of Sam's Wholesale Club, which was introduced to the localmarketback in the early 1980s when Wal-Mart launced its warehousechains.Sam's has four area locations, with stores in Lenexa,Independence,Gladstone and Grandview. Another is planned to openthis summer inOverland Park. Costco, based in Issaquah, WA, is newto the market,but has been aggressively seeking expansion in theMidwest.

Sam's Club has more than 470 stores in the United States andhadrevenues last year of $25 billion. Costco has 240 stores in thecountryand had revenues of $27 billion last year. Costco charges$45 for anannual membership and Sam's charges $35. As an addedincentive, Costcohas been offering a one-year free membership.

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