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WEST PALM BEACH, FL-Costco Wholesale Corp. does everything in a big way. The Issaquah, WA-based retailer plans to build a 24-hour, 400,000-sf distribution center on 70 acres just east of the Florida Turnpike at an estimated hard construction cost of $24 million. Construction industry estimators tell GlobeSt.com Costco could build the structure for $60 per sf.

Costco is buying the land from Arthur Gladstone, a longtime West Palm Beach property owner, for an estimated $7 million or $100,000 per acre ($2.30 per sf). At least two other Fortune 500 companies are interested in buying 40 acres adjacent to the Costco site which will create a new tax revenue base for West Palm Beach. The 45th Street location is 60 miles north of Downtown Miami.

Costco decided to build its own distribution hub to consolidate several rented facilities throughout Palm Beach county. The company would ship merchandise from the distribution center to 15 statewide retail outlets with a staff of 300.

Costco anticipates opening the first phase of the project at an undetermined date in 2001, depending on when the city commission and review boards approve the venture over the next three months. The second and final phase would be opened in 2003.

Costco’s project follows a January announcement by Walgreen Co. of Deerfield, IL to build a 650,000-sf distribution center at an estimated construction cost of $39 million in northwestern Palm Beach county that would employ 800. Walgreen’s ground-breaking date hasn’t been announced.

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