MORRIS – The Morris Development Review Committee unanimously approved a downsized meat processing plant design from Costco Thursday morning.
The approval comes after the Morris City Council voted, 8-1, last month to approve an annexation agreement between the city, Costco Wholesale Corporation and K&S Real Estate LLC for the annexation of about 140 acres along North Lisbon Road in Saratoga Township.
Costco will spend an estimated $120 million for a 255,996-square-foot meat processing plant.
The original plan was for more than 360,000 square feet.
“We made a reduction in the plan because we found the cost of the larger building would be ridiculous,” said Ted Johnson, Costco’s Midwest development manager.
The plant still will have the same startup operation, including one production line each for hot dogs, sausages and meatballs, and the same amount of employees.
The original plan was to expand within the larger facility. If Costco does expand the building one day, it will present plans to the city for approval.
Morris Building and Zoning Officer Bill Cheshareck said the previously approved landscaping, storm detention and exterior lighting plans will remain the same.
Johnson said there soon will be a reduction in truck traffic from Costco’s existing distribution depot along Route 47.
Costco is opening a depot in Michigan that will deliver to stores in three states to which Morris’ depot currently delivers.
It’s a significant enough reduction, Johnson said, that even when the meat processing plant is operational, there will be less truck traffic than there is now.
The new building will employ about 155 people regularly and about 220 during peak times of the year.
Johnson said last month the plant would be producing more product around Labor Day, the Fourth of July and Memorial Day.
Depending on weather and necessary approvals, Costco is hoping to close on the property in December and break ground on construction in April 2016.
Costco hopes to have the facility operating by June or July 2017, Mayor Richard Kopczick has said.