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KANSAS CITY, MO-Midtown Markeplace will be opening soon and the competition amongwholesale clubs and building supply stores will heat up.Costco Wholesale Club will open its 150,000-sf store, at thecorner of Main Street and Linwood Boulevard, on January 12. Home Depot willopen its 120,000-sf lumber yard and home improvement store onFebruary 1. Both are part of a $46-million tax increment financingpackage that also brought the Mill Street Station shopping center toMidtown within the past three years.

“The $46 million was for both projects and included everything fromland acquisition to infrastructure improvements, site development andactual construction,” says Carrie Flack, planner with the city ofKansas City. “It’s nice to have the MidtownMarketplace ready to open. It was a plan that was in the works fornearly 15 years.”

Costco, offering bulk buy discounts, will be bumping elbows with thelikes of Sam’s Wholesale Club, which was introduced to the local marketback in the early 1980s when Wal-Mart launced its warehouse chains.Sam’s has four area locations, with stores in Lenexa, Independence,Gladstone and Grandview. Another is planned to open this summer inOverland Park. Costco, based in Issaquah, WA, is new to the market,but has been aggressively seeking expansion in the Midwest.

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

In addition to Costco and Home Depot, Midtown Marketplace will havethree other pad sites. Two are yet to be leased. On the third, atwo-story 19,000-sf building is being erected by the developerand will house MainCor offices. MainCor is working to develop thecentral business corridor and is also active in pursuing a light railinitiative. Also on the property, the historic Luzier cosmetic buildingwas salvaged and is being renovated. A lease for that 17,000-sf building has yet to be signed.

Midtown Markeplace is being developed by Midtown RedevelopmentCorp., of which Steve Block is a principal. J.E. Dunn Constructionwas hired as the site developer. Costco hired Elan Construction as itscontractor and Home Depot used Walton Construction as its contractor.

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