Proposed Costco fires up some San Jose residents
The Goodwill and Smart & Final at the Westgate West shopping center where the new Costco would be built. Photo by Kristen Pizzo.

    Costco wants to grow its San Jose footprint—this time in the Westgate West shopping center off Prospect Road. But the proposal isn’t sitting well with local residents.

    “Nobody likes seeing empty buildings for long periods of time, so it is important to fill it in with viable businesses or dense housing. But let’s get creative,” said Gail Wesling, a resident of the Prides Crossing neighborhood. “Don’t put in a big box store bringing in hoards of vehicles so close to residential. Let’s make our community more humane.”

    The West San Jose 160,000-square-foot proposed warehouse would take over the Goodwill store, Ethan Allen Furniture Company, Smart & Final and former Orchard Supply Hardware building, along with several other vacant spaces in the mall.

    Westgate West is located down the street from Prospect High School. The Almaden, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Great Oaks Costco locations are all within 15-20 minute drives from the shopping center.

    An aerial view of the Westgate West shopping center.

    San Jose Vice Mayor Chappie Jones, whose district includes the project, notified residents about the proposed tenant in his monthly newsletter last Friday. The company is expected to submit its proposal in early November, according to the newsletter.

    The newsletter was posted on Nextdoor and received more than 400 comments, some expressing excitement about having a nearby Costco, but many others lamenting about further traffic congestion at the Prospect, Saratoga and Hamilton avenue intersections.

    Jones told San José Spotlight he hasn’t seen the complete proposal, but confirmed it contains plans for a rooftop parking lot.

    “The community will have multiple opportunities to weigh in and express opinions and concerns, and we will take all that into consideration and make a judgment on whether to support or not support the project,” he said.

    So far, Jones said he’s received only a handful of emails about the proposal, and one was in support of Costco.

    Dawn Siemer, a resident of the Country Lane neighborhood, sent one of those emails.

    “I wrote a really detailed email to the District 1 email address. I can be an angry NIMBY,” she told San José Spotlight.  “Seriously, as someone who bought my grandparents’ house, I have a longtime connection to the neighborhood and I’d hate our quirky little strip mall to be crushed by Costco.”

    On Nextdoor, many residents commented that they didn’t like the idea of losing the current businesses in the shopping center, such as Goodwill.

    Jones pointed out that the displaced businesses may have the opportunity to relocate to the retail space at El Paseo and 1777 Saratoga Avenue.

    Overall, he’s optimistic about the proposal.

    “With a project like this, the first reaction is to oppose it. But we need to see the value Costco provides to the community in terms of convenience, tax revenue, strengthening our retail base… We have to weigh all of these different factors when making a decision,” Jones said.

    Kay S. of the Starbird neighborhood said she is worried about the traffic, but likes the convenience of having a Costco in her area.

    “I think Costco is a good company,” she wrote on Nextdoor. “They treat their employees well and have great customer service and products I use.”

    Contact Kristen Pizzo at [email protected]

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