Costco has applied for a Pre Application and Conceptual Design Review for their proposal to demolish the existing multi story Sears building Sears along with the two out buildings (former Sears catalog building and automotive center building) at the southern portion of Northgate Mall. In it’s place, Costco is proposing to build a new 146,9858 sq ft Costco Warehouse Center, including a 141,773 sq ft warehouse, 5,185 sq ft attached tire center, along with a detached fueling station. The proposal also calls for 2-3 levels of rooftop parking on top of the proposed Costco warehouse.
The purpose of the Pre Application is for an applicant to receive: 1) preliminary feedback from the City, including code requirements, 2) capacity review from utility providers, and 3) roadmap for any subsequent permits or processes required by the City to process the formal application.
In addition, the Conceptual Design Review is a process required by the City for major projects to have preliminary design level plans reviewed by the City’s Design Review Board (DRB) before they are developed too far. The purpose is for the City through a public process to provide preliminary feedback on the proposed design direction.
The City's Planning Commission reviewed the preliminary application on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 and provided the following comments:
- No PC support for gas component of the project (unanimous)
- Really need a master plan to understand what is planned for rest of mall, how this project would impact that and what that would do to housing potential
- Confirmed the main Costco retail use and tire center are consistent with the current Master Use Permit, but not as designed (lack of integration with mall, circulation issues, height/bulk/mass)
- Need for data to support the benefits to the community and support claims that Costco will bring shoppers to mall
- Concern with the increased height (Exception findings) more than current Sear footprint which results in bulk and mass coming so close to Northgate Dr
- Need for better integration of the Costco with rest of Mall
- Concern with on-site circulation access as noted by staff
- Need project to better respect the design and character of surrounding area.
- Project is solely designed for car access and needs to pay attention to pedestrians
- Ensure that traffic study is comprehensive and extends to greater are than just around mall
The DRB reviewed the conceptual design on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. The DRB provided the following primary comments
- Reduce the scale of the project (i.e., height, lot coverage, etc.) so that it is closer in size to the existing Sears buildings and takes into consideration the lower scale of both the adjacent residential neighborhood and the existing Mall. Making the height Exception findings will be difficult.
- Improve the pedestrian circulation around the project and connecting to the Mall by relocating or eliminating the fuel station element, and converting the proposed new driveway between the project and Mall to pedestrian only
- Improve the visual connection to the mail by incorporating some of the existing material palette i.e., (more stone, less concrete).
- Eliminate tall wall sections by Increasing articulation along all or portions of all elevations, particularly along the south and north elevations.
Staff reports and video proceedings from both meetings can be viewed by clicking the link to each hearing above.
The Pre Application and Conceptual review processes are now completed and no further City action will occur on this project. The applicant has indicated they are now taking a pause to analyze the City, outside agency and public feedback received during the preliminary process and decide on if an how to proceed. The next step is listed below in the Frequently Asked Questions section.
If a formal application is submitted to the City, this web page will be updated and we will use the interested parties list (in the “stay informed section” below) to pass on any updates.
Sign Up for Public Notice Mailing
The City will provide mailed notice to property owners, residents, businesses and any Homeowners Associations within 500 feet of the Mall site, 15 days prior to the meeting. If you are outside this area and would like to be added to the mailing list, please submit your name, mailing address and email address with the subject line “Add to Costco Mailing List.”
Register for Agenda Notifications
Sign up to receive agenda notifications for the Design Review Board and Planning Commission: https://www.cityofsanrafael.org/subscribe/