THE US wholesale shopping giant Costco has its sights on the Hunter.
The chain, which has opened eight stores in Australia since 2009, has been linked with an expansion into the old Pasminco site at Boolaroo.
But Costco, the Pasminco site’s administrator Ferrier Hodgson and Colliers International – the real estate company handling the sale of the land – have all played down Costco’s enquiries into opening in Boolaroo.
A Costco spokeswoman said on Wednesday that “Newcastle is certainly an area we are interested in”, but insisted that “no specific site” had been chosen.
But several sources have told the Newcastle Herald the retailer is serious about opening one of its membership-based, bulk sale stores to Hunter shoppers.
“They are very, very keen, almost to the point of signing a contract,” a Lake Macquarie council source said.
Asked for an official statement, the council played down the claims.
“Council’s objective for the former Pasminco smelter site remains; to achieve employment on the site to the same level that existed when Pasminco was in operation,” a council spokeswoman said.
“Council has no application from Costco and cannot confirm their interest in the site.”
Responding to the Herald’s questions about Costco’s interest in Boolaroo, Lake Macquarie mayor Jodie Harrison played up the site’s employment and commercial potential.
“We want to create jobs in Lake Macquarie,” Cr Harrison said.
“The former Pasminco smelter site is a perfect location for businesses and industries that create jobs.”
Costco’s stores are three to four times bigger than typical supermarkets.
They sell groceries in bulk, as well as heavily discounted merchandise ranging from diamond rings to coffins.
The chain makes most of its profits from memberships rather than mark-ups.
Sections of the former Pasminco site are zoned “light industrial”, others are “commercial mixed use”.
It is home to a Bunnings Warehouse which opened last year, replacing the Bunnings at Glendale.
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