Report: Costco plans for Cranston shelved, for now

PROVIDENCE – Plans for a Costco Wholesale Club in Cranston may have fallen through, according to a report Thursday by WPRI-TV CBS 12.

The news station confirmed the popular membership wholesale club store withdrew its zoning and permit application in August for a facility proposed at the former R.I. Adult Correctional Institutions medium-security site at the Howard Industrial Park.

Costco’s plans for the property at 20 Goddard Drive also included a gas station.

Cranston Planning Director Jason Pezzullo told WPRI he hasn’t heard back from Costco since those applications were withdrawn.

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Rumors swelled about Costco’s exit after Rep. Barbara Ann Fenton, R-Cranston, launched her mayoral campaign. Her husband, former Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung, divulged that the project fell through, blaming current Mayor Kenneth J. Hopkins for the retailer withdrawing its application from the city’s Planning Commission.

In a statement to Providence Business News, Hopkins claimed Costco never submitted an application before the Planning Commission, adding a planned rezoning application to the City Council was paused for further development discussions in September.

“This is a perfect example of just another politician speaking out and showing what they do not know rather than what they do know,” Hopkins said in a statement. “We cannot risk all the progress we have made on the economic development front to an inexperienced politician.”

Hopkins emphasized that publicly traded companies and national corporations do not like communities with arbitrary and contentious political environments, adding Fenton’s comments could jeopardize another national company coming to Cranston. He added that he still supports Costco’s plan to develop the former prison site.

Fenton-Fung and Hopkins will face off for the Republican mayoral nomination in the September primary. City Councilor Robert Ferri is expected to seek the Democratic nomination. The winner in November will serve a four-year term.