Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Did Rankin County Liquor Prohibition Kill Any Chance of Landing Costco?

Costco opens its first Mississippi location in Ridgeland/Madison County in a few weeks.  Costco is a major bulk retailer that apparently is a "higher-end" version of Sam's Club.  This new Costco store is the culmination of several years of disputes over the potential location of the store.  As when the Reservoir was built, some people get upset about the prospect of change and growth.  

In addition to the Ridgeland site, several other sites around the metro area were at least somewhat considered for the development. Costco considered several properties in Flowood/Rankin County.    

In 2014, The Clarion-Ledger reported: 

Just behind Dogwood Festival Market is one of the two Flowood sites under consideration. Community Bank owns the parcel, which is marketed as Flowood Town Center. The other possibility in Flowood is land across the Walmart Supercenter, marketed as The Pinelands. Texas-based Encore Enterprises, a privately owned national real estate company, owns that site, which is abutted by a residential neighborhood.

The rumor mill indicates that there were other Rankin County sites considered in addition to those reported above.  Obviously, a Costco would have been a major retail development for Flowood and the Northwest Rankin area and would have generated significant tax revenue for Rankin County schools and local governments.  

The Costco is projected to have annual sales of approximately $100 million, which will generate $7 million in sales tax. The city will receive 18.5 percent of that, or approximately $1.3 million, McGee said.
Also, the store is expected to generate around $47,617 a year in new property taxes for the city, $77,830 in ad valorem taxes for Madison County and $127,000 in new ad valorem taxes for the Madison County School District.
However, Costco derives a significant portion of its revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages like liquor and wine.  Since Rankin County prohibits the sale and possession of Alcoholic Beverages (i.e. liquor/wine exceeding 5% alcohol - not beer), the "word on the street" is that Costco quickly ended consideration of the Rankin County/Flowood property.  In other words, Rankin County might be disadvantaged for attracting certain development when compared to sites in Madison County and (gasp) Hinds County since Rankin County retailers cannot sell Alcoholic Beverages for off-site consumption.  RN Note: Several businesses in Rankin County are Qualified Resorts, which permits the sale of Alcoholic Beverages by-the-glass but not the sale of a bottle of wine or liquor for off-premises consumption.  

The new Costco will generate millions of dollars in property and sales taxes for Ridgeland/Madison County over the next several years (some courtesy of Rankin County residents that make their way over to shop).  Perhaps the Ridgeland/Madison County site was the preferred site all along, but Rankin County voters and residents should know whether or not Rankin County's status as a dry county for the sale of Alcoholic Beverages in any way disadvantaged the area from consideration of such a development.   

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