The rumors won’t go away that a Costco is coming to a 100-acre parcel east of Interstate 75 and north of State Road 64 on Grand Harbour Parkway.
Ground was broken this year for The Landings at Heritage Harbour, a 264,987-square-foot retail development that has been on the drawing board since 2007.
This week, dump trucks and heavy machinery were busy at the 100-acre site, continuing to prepare the land for a big-box development that thus far remains unidentified.
Work also was underway on Grand Harbour Parkway, making an improvement to one of the possible entrances to the development.
Representatives of E T MacKenzie Company, which did the initial land clearing, and RyanGolf Corporation, which is doing site preparation, said they either did not know who the tenants might be for the site or were not allowed to divulge information.
In February, the Bradenton Herald reported that Manatee County Government had granted LNR Heritage Harbour LLLP of Newport Beach, Calif., an extension until April 17 to get the project started. The developer has been mum about what is planned for the site.
However, one area elected official this week said they have heard that a Costco is coming to Heritage Harbour, and a Target store as well.
Costco representatives in February, and again this week, said in identical emails they would neither confirm nor deny that the company has a store planned for the Bradenton area.
“Unfortunately, it is our company policy to not comment regarding future Costco warehouses until we are ready to share details about the new location (usually 2-3 months in advance),” a company representative told the Herald in the e-mails.
Ever since, Costco has maintained radio silence on the question.
Target quickly responded this week when asked if it had plans to bring another store to the Bradenton area.
"Thanks for reaching out to us with your question. At Target, we are continuously exploring possible locations for new stores, including in southern Florida. At this time, I have no news to share about plans for the Bradenton area," a company spokesperson wrote in an email.
The only new Florida stores Target lists as opening through 2022 are in Tallahassee and Miami Beach, according to the email.
Costco also publishes a list of stores that it plans to open, but it projects only through July, and none of those stores are in Florida.
Even Manatee County government officials say they don't know what the truth is about rumors of a Costco coming to the Heritage Harbour site.
John Barnott, director of Building and Development Services for Manatee County government, said in February his office has not been told what is planned for the site.
This week, a representative of Barnott's office referred a request about information to planning documents, which outline square footage and approval for a retail development.
Alex Onishenko, fire marshal for the East Manatee Fire Rescue District, who signs off on construction projects in his jurisdiction, said he is in the dark as well.
"I have heard all the rumors, but I can neither confirm nor deny them," Onishenko said.