Costco could be the next big-box retailer to penetrate the dense Manhattan market. The Issaquah, Wash.-based company said it is in negotiations to anchor the proposed 480,000-square-foot East River Plaza on FDR Drive in Harlem. β€œIt's been no secret that we've been looking for a deal there for about five years,” concedes Jeff Brotman, Costco chairman, though he says no lease has been signed.

Local developer Blumenfeld Development Group confirms the companies are in negotiations. Home Depot has already signed on for the development at the former Washburn Wire Factory site, which closed in 1982.

β€œI think this is an ideal location for this type of project, because it is so close to the FDR,” says Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the nonprofit organization the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. The FDR Drive skirts Manhattan on the East Side, making the accessible to traffic from the Bronx and Westchester County as well as Manhattan's East Side.

Within a one-mile radius are 39,920 households with an average income of $37,003. Better yet, within a three-mile radius, the average income is $97,408. Plans call for a four-story building and an adjacent 1,200+ parking facility.

Currently, Costco has stores in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.