A rendering of an apartment complex attached to a Costco warehouse.
Thrive Living

Can Costco help fix the housing shortage? 

A proposed mixed-use apartment community anchored by a Costco warehouse store could signal a new approach to affordable housing.

July 2, 2024
2 minutes

Los Angeles residents may soon be able to shop for an affordable apartment while loading up on bulk household items. 

New renderings of a mixed-use development for the Baldwin Village neighborhood with a Costco and 800 apartments over the top and adjacent to a warehouse store at 5035 Coliseum Street emerged this week, SFGate reported, signaling new signs of life for the proposal, which was first hinted in January 2023. 

An even bigger big-box store: The plan for the mixed-use store and apartments comes from the LA-based developer Thrive Living and architect partner AO. Of the 800 or so total apartments floated for the site, 184 units would be designated for affordable housing, SFGate added, which would provide much-needed units for lower income Los Angeles residents. 

The new store and six-story apartment block would replace a vacant single-story commercial complex, and unlike other Costco locations, would forgo the typical gas station and tire center, Urbanize Los Angeles reported when the development was first rumored. With a location a half-mile away from the Expo/La Brea train station, the proposed development qualifies for additional density via LA's Transit Oriented Communities Incentive Program (TOC).

Could Costco set a new precedent? While the new Los Angeles Costco development represents key themes of new urbanism — particularly pairing affordability and density near a public transit hub — not all new Costcos are created equal. In June, Costco received approval from Chicago City Council to expand its warehouse footprint and add additional parking spaces at its busy store on the edge of the upscale Lincoln Park neighborhood. 

While one Chicago elected rep praised the expansion — specifically the addition of a pocket park and plans to improve the flow of traffic in and out of the complex — urban planning experts panned the expansion of parking, particularly as it necessitated the demolition of other retail buildings. 

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