Where will NZ's second Costco Wholesale store open?

Earthworks at Drury where Kiwi Property plans the new town centre. Photo: NZ Herald
Earthworks at Drury where Kiwi Property plans the new town centre. Photo: NZ Herald
Costco Wholesale has always vowed a second New Zealand store and now fans claim they know where it will be.

So far, Costco has only one store at Westgate on Auckland’s northwest fringes and nothing has been announced since about where it might go next.

Former Australia and New Zealand country manager Patrick Noone was definite in the last few years that the business wouldn’t stop in New Zealand at one store.

When he arrived here from Sydney in April 2022 for Costco Fuel’s opening at Westgate, he said much more about how advanced plans were for the second and third stores.

Christchurch was possibly next on the list for a Costco “but it depends on how it works out here”, he said on April 27, 2022. After that, Wellington could get a Costco.

Now, a new social media fan page, Costco Drury Community, has been formed, tipping the south Auckland area as the site of the second store and showing photos of framing for a building rising.

“The second Costco warehouse has been earmarked to open in South Drury, 2026 at the earliest but exciting times ahead for sure,” that public group says.

However, a media spokeswoman in Sydney said today: “Unfortunately we can’t confirm any developments in Drury at this stage. We will let you know should any updates become available in the future though.”

Sam Ey of Costco Drury Community told the Herald: “Head honchos not just from Australia but also USA are in Auckland until mid to end of this week assessing and planning the expansion They should release official news by the second quarter if all goes well.”

Asked how he knew that and if he had evidence, Ey said: “I guess I can’t - just like I couldn’t months before Costco officially announced Westgate”.

The Herald has previously reported how Rolleston could be the site of a second store.

Christchurch developer/investor Carter Group’s Rolleston Industrial Holdings won approval from the district council for a scheme suitable for such a big operation.

Former Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark’s office released Official Information Act documents about that to Herald journalist Kate MacNamara.

Her article was about how the Government had canvassed two international grocery giants as part of its supermarket shake-up, and sought their views on what regulatory change would ease their expansion into New Zealand.

Clark spoke to Aldi and Costco.

Costco was listed in a Government briefing paper as having 804 warehouses worldwide by last March, of which 558 are in the United States, 103 in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 29 in the United Kingdom 27 in Japan, 16 in South Korea, 14 in Taiwan, 13 in Australia, two in France, one in Iceland and one in China.

It was in that briefing paper that cited Costco’s Christchurch move: “Costco has also been granted resource consent for a large format membership-only warehouse outlet in Selwyn, Christchurch,” the paper said.

Selwyn District Council has granted resource consent to an associate of Philip and Tim Carter’s business on 6.3ha for a Costco on the Rolleston land.

Tim Harris, the council’s environmental services group manager, said two years ago that the consent was granted to Rolleston Industrial Holdings to allow the construction and operation of a Costco.

But no new store has risen there.

Separately, NZX-listed Kiwi Property Group and others are busy at Drury. A new satellite city the size of Napier is in its early stages of construction, 45 minutes from central Auckland.

What is currently pastoral land will eventually be transformed into Drury East, a development big enough to house 60,000 people with an urban-style town centre, complete with retail and entertainment.

Kiwi has a 53.5ha site where hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent to create a new urban hub to help accommodate Auckland’s growth.

A Kiwi spokesman today said when asked if they were dealing with the American store business: “You’d need to speak to Costco about their plans for future store locations.”

Kiwi is now on its third year of earthworks at its site near SH1.

Asked if Kiwi was leasing sites already at Drury before construction had begun, the spokesman said he would check with that team at the business. No further information has been forthcoming.

Once urban zonings are in place, Kiwi will sell its land to group house builders, with plans for 7000 homes accommodating about 19,000 people.

Kiwi then plans 5.8ha of office floorspace, 11ha of shops, up to 6000 jobs, a railway station, bus interchange, provision for a regional hospital precinct, two primary schools and one secondary school, and 10ha of open space with a cycleway. Mackenzie defers to the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health when it comes to the hospital and schools, but says a new regional hospital will be needed in the area in the next few years.

A new town centre is at the heart of its plans.

Whether that could include a Costco remains in the realm of speculation.

By Anne Gibson