ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Later this year, Costco will officially open in the Capital Region on Western Avenue and Crossgates Road, but not everyone is excited. On Wednesday night, demonstrators appeared before a public hearing to protest against the developer, The Pyramid Corporation, from receiving any tax breaks since Costco is a retail store.
“I think this is a pretty outrageous thing,” Lynne Jackson, Save the Pine Bush volunteer, said. “What Pyramid is asking for is over $2 million in tax breaks.”
But a lawyer for the retailer says that the tax break is only for the initial development of the building.
“I would like to emphasize that the sales tax exemption being requested is only on initial construction and fill-out of the facility. It does not apply to the ongoing operation of the Costco facility,” he said.
Still, volunteers with Save the Pine Bush say they are worried about how the increased car traffic will affect the Pine Bush Preserve, along with emissions from the new gas station that will also be built. Protesters were also against the corporation from purchasing the surrounding public sidewalks.
“When you take roads by eminent domain, in this particular case…because the roads are public, they can only be used for a public reason and for the public good. That is not the case here,” she said.
The Executive Director of the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce says that she believes that Costco will be good for the area.
“We do see it as a positive. And the reason is it is going to be commerce coming from all over the state,” she said. “Costco is a very popular store. It creates a synergy within our area that we could really use.”
After three years, Costco received its final approval from the Guilderland Zoning Board earlier this month. But the board still plans on having additional public hearings. In the meantime, developers can break ground once the required roundabout off-ramp by the Northway is completed.