HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) --Hanford's long-awaited Costco project is finally moving forward, as city leaders broke ground on the site near Lacey Boulevard and Highway 43 Wednesday.
"This is our beach front property in Hanford," said Hanford City Manager Darrel Pyle.
Pyle says Costco will be picking up their building permit this week, and the building will be up in a little more than 100 days. It's expected to open by late October.
Pyle says the absence of a Costco has created a huge sales tax leak in the city's economic portfolio because card-carrying members often leave Hanford to visit the Visalia or Fresno Costco.
"They'll be able to stay here, better for air quality they won't have to drive 15, 20, 30 miles round trip and while they're at Costco in other cities they also spend money on gas and restaurants and other retail. They'll be able to keep all of those dollars local," Pyle said.
Pyle says Costco is part of an overall 500,000 square foot shopping center that will create 400 jobs on the east side of town-where more housing is also planned.
"This Costco development represents the anchor investment in the east side," Pyle said. "And it's been council's goal to balance development on the east side and west side so the residents of Hanford don't have to get on the freeway and drive all the way to 12th Avenue."
But construction on 12th Avenue is moving right along, with new chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Dunkin Donuts expected to be open at the Hanford Mall within the next six months. That should line up well with Costco's opening and the new Lacey Boulevard and Highway 43 realignment.
A traffic signal will be removed, and a roundabout will go in.
There's a lot happening in Hanford, and chamber of commerce spokesman Geary Galusha says it's because they're a business-friendly community, and proud of it.
"I get compliments about our community all the time from friends coming up from say Hollister, the Bay Area, San Jose," Galusha said. "And they say 'you guys have all this stuff right here?'"
Pyle says Costco is the anchor business for the site, but plans are in the works right now for four other buildings.
Construction on those should start this summer.