California Costco Has Big Plans to Address Affordable Housing

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Jun 27, 2024

Costco is known for its bulk groceries and unbeatable deals, but now it’s venturing into affordable housing.

The upcoming South Los Angeles location is set to open in the next few years. This unique development combines a Costco store with residential units, aiming to address LA’s housing crisis.

Project Overview

The South LA Costco project will be located at 5035 Coliseum St., Baldwin Village/Crenshaw area.

California Costco housing blueprint

Source: Joe Cohen/X

It will reportedly include a Costco store and 800 residential units, with 184 units reserved for low-income tenants. Thrive Living and architects AO are leading the project.

Innovative Design

The design features multiple floors, open courtyards, landscaped paths, and amenities like a fitness area, community spaces, and a rooftop pool.

Apartments pictured behind a basketball court.

Source: Nelson Ndongala/Unsplash

This mixed-use model is not only novel for LA but may have national retail implications for Costco.

Meeting Housing Needs

Joe Cohen, a housing activist, highlights the complexity of California’s planning system but supports the project.

A row of different colored houses. Behind the houses are high-rise buildings.

Source: Kae Ng/Unsplash

“LA needs a lot more housing, and we need it everywhere we can get it,” he says. The development aims to provide much-needed affordable housing in the area.

Construction Challenges

Thrive Living faces numerous construction hurdles, including state Assembly bills and union rules.

A photograph of construction workers

Source: Wikimedia

To speed up and reduce costs, they will use pre-fabricated apartment modules. These modules are compact, easily transportable, and allow for high-density living.

Pre-Fabricated Apartments

The pre-fabricated modules ensure quick assembly and lower labor costs.

A construction worker wearing protective gear is using a circular saw to cut a piece of wood on a workbench

Source: Jeriden Villegas/Unsplash

These compact units fit together efficiently, meeting the requirement that two-thirds of the development’s total square footage be residential.


Underground Parking

The South LA Costco will feature a multi-floor underground garage.

A photograph of several cars passing quickly along a multi-lane road

Source: Freepik

This ensures ample parking for shoppers and residents, minimizing surface-level congestion. The development also aims to be transit-friendly, promoting sustainable transportation options.


Retail Adjustments

The retail component of the new Costso may streamline its product selection for this location, focusing on fresh produce and daily necessities.

A shopper looking at her basket of food items at a grocery store.

Source: Gustavo Fring/Pexels

The store will include a pharmacy, optical station, and other essential services. These adjustments cater to both residents and shoppers.


Community Reaction

Joe Cohen’s comparison of the design to a “Costco Prison” garnered mixed reactions.

Two Person in Long-sleeved Shirt Shakehand

Source: Cytonn Photography/Pexels

However, the majority of comments on his X post were in favor of the project. Many trust the Costco brand to deliver a positive impact on the community.


Broader Implications

This development could serve as a model for future urban projects, blending commercial and residential spaces.

Multi-colored houses on a street. Cars are parked outside the houses.

Source: Enric Cruz Lòpez/Pexels

If successful, it may influence similar projects statewide, addressing housing shortages while maintaining retail functions.


Trust in Costco

Cohen also onotes the public’s trust in Costco: “If they’re doing it, it must be a good thing.”

Costco sign outside building

Source: Koffermejia/Wikimedia Commons

This trust is crucial for the project’s acceptance and success. The innovative approach could redefine urban development strategies.


Future Prospects

The South LA Costco project is in the permitting stages, with construction expected to evolve over the next 18 to 36 months.

A set of keys with a small house keyring attached.

Source: Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash

If embraced by locals and officials, it could pave the way for similar high-density developments, providing a blueprint for integrating housing and retail.