BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Costco Wholesale could open in Baton Rouge in a year if the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council approves the creation of an economic development district on Wednesday to pay for infrastructure improvements in the area.

The Advocate reports ( ) the superstore is planning a $38 million capital investment into its 150,000-square-foot warehouse on Dawnadele Avenue at the former Coca-Cola bottling facility.

The city-parish and Costco have negotiated the creation of the Dawnadele Economic Development District, which would rebate $7 million of local sales taxes, plus interest, back to Costco to pay for infrastructure improvements and demolition costs.

William Daniel, chief administrative officer for Mayor-President Kip Holden, said the projects should be paid off in less than four years at an interest rate of 4.5 percent, which is estimated to bring the total city-parish price tag to $7.8 million.

"To me, it's a great deal," Daniel said. "It's an opportunity to get a really good company that, by the way, would be going somewhere else."

Costco has agreed to hire an average of 120 part-time and full-time employees, maintaining a minimum payroll of at least $3.7 million, according to the cooperative endeavor agreement.

Costco also agreed to make a "good faith effort" to hire 50 percent or more of its employees from East Baton Rouge Parish, according to the agreement.

Daniel said, on average, Costco employees are paid $23 per hour.

He also said the membership-only retailer is considered a "destination store" that draws shoppers from up to 60 miles away.

Of the $7 million sales tax rebate, $5.5 million would go toward infrastructure and road improvements in the area, and the other $1.5 million would go toward the $4.5 million cost of tearing down the building.


Information from: The Advocate,