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COSTCO coming (again) to Cranston. Success will be in the details.




It was a tweet from Gene Valicenti (NBC10, WPRO Radio) which let Rhode Island know – again – that COSTCO is coming to Cranston. They have passed on locating in the Chapel View development area (long theoried and on a Carpionato Corp. map shown to Cranston residents, albeit inadvertently) and have opted in on the long-vacant Medium Security Prison off Pontiac Avenue.

Auctioned off to an LLC in 2021, and now COSTCO identified developer Baccari Corporation, will position COSTCO, and a gas station. While COSTCO traditionally includes a liqour store, license availability in Cranston is in question, and for now, that is not a sure thing. The process of rezoning, etc., could still mean 18 months, at best, before doors would be open. Zoning, DEM approval, City Council approval, etc. all in question.

Cranston Mayor Hopkins reacts

In a press release titled, “Mayor Hopkins excited over COSTCO coming to Cranston”, Hopkins expressed excitement and support for the pending formal announcement of Costco coming to Cranston.

“After many months of speculation, discussions, and development meetings, I am pleased that the formal steps will be rolled out that will soon lead to the establishment of a Costco Wholesale facility in Cranston,” said Mayor Hopkins.

The mayor said that the permitting process will soon get underway that will bring Costco to Cranston to the site of the former medium security prison in the Howard Industrial Park. The 16.8-acre property at 20 Goddard Drive was acquired from the State of Rhode Island in 2021 by 20 Goddard LLC, a related entity to well-known Rhode Island developer Churchill & Banks of Providence.

Mayor Hopkins said that he will join in sponsoring legislation that will rezone the M-2 industrial parcel for the customary Costco uses that are found at their facilities including the wholesale club and gasoline fueling pumps.

“I look forward to Costco bringing forward their development plan for public hearings before the Planning Commission as a major land development project and to the City Council for the rezoning of the parcel.” He said, “I know Costco officials want to share how they will demonstrate to the community they can be a good neighbor and satisfactorily address all traffic and environmental concerns”. Hopkins said a public review and consideration of their plans is important.

“I have worked hard to encourage Costco to find a suitable location in Cranston.  I did not want to lose this premier wholesale club to another community and wanted to bring the jobs and tax revenue to our city,” said Hopkins.

“This is a major economic development announcement for Cranston and our residents.” He said Cranston is enhancing its well-deserved reputation as a state and regional destination for shopping and dining and visiting to enjoy the special quality of life.  “With the opening of Top Golf in the Fall, Garden City Shopping Center, Chapel View and all our local economic corridors like Knightsville, Rolfe Square and Pawtuxet Village, Cranston is the place to be,” Hopkins said.

Mayor Hopkins said in October of 2022 the developer had received city approvals to build a 210,000 square foot industrial warehouse on the former prison site.  “Those plans will be held in abeyance while Costco goes through the permitting and regulatory steps to open in Cranston.”

He concluded by emphasizing, “This is a major economic development announcement for Cranston taxpayers and the expansion of the commercial tax base.  I look forward to the Costco groundbreaking.”


Some members of the Garden City Alliance expressed concerns about traffic patterns, along with relief that the big box store was not going to be wedged into land behind TopGolf and the Chapel View development area. The concerns are that there will be another new, popular destination where the Pontiac Avenue exit off of Route 95 will be funneling all traffic. A question to the Mayor’s office about a suggested new exit ramp off Route 95 directly into the industrial complex that houses other Businesses, including NBC10 studios, came back with the comment that COSTCO will need to talk to RIDOT on traffic patterns.

Meanwhile, new off ramp configurations to accommodate years of traffic issues at the Pontiac Avenue exit will now include a special off ramp directly into TopGolf. The backup on Route 95 south can be long prior to getting to this new configuration. There are federal rules about public exit ramps going directly into commercial projects.

COSTCO did not release an official statement. The company’s first location, opened in 1976 under the Price Club name, was in a converted airplane hangar on Morena Boulevard in San Diego. The company does not have the new Cranston location on their website of new locations to come. COSTCO plans to open 14 new stores in the US before the end of 2023.