What’s been an unsightly corner along one of the city’s main entrances could become the site of a new upscale grocery, city officials have been told.
A Fresh Market is being proposed as one of the anchors of a new commercial project proposed for 4.5 acres at the corner bounded by Route 50, Marion Avenue and Excelsior Avenue.
The 128-store national grocery chain, headquartered in North Carolina, has locations in 25 states. A Saratoga Springs store would be the third in New York. A Fresh Market opened in Latham in 2010 and there is another in Scarsdale, Westchester County.
“We think there’s a bright future here … the growth of Saratoga County particularly,” Fresh Market real estate director James Dewey told a joint meeting of the city Planning Board and Design Review Commission this week.
The market would be part of a new proposal for the Lexington Club site, where footings and foundations have sat exposed since construction of a planned six-story hotel and condominium project stopped in 2007.
The new plan by developer Andre Schmid is scaled back, but still includes three buildings and 30 apartments, along with the grocery and other commercial uses, said project representative Michael Carr of The LA Group.
The Fresh Market would be 20,000 square feet — smaller than conventional supermarkets. “It’s based on more of a European-model grocery. It is more perishables-based,” Carr told the boards.
Carr said the grocer wants the store to face traffic on Route 50, even though the project entrances will be on Excelsior and Marion.
How quickly the project could happen is unclear. The city’s Design Review Commission members offered a number of suggestions for design changes to the project, which will be subject to approval by both the Design Review Commission and Planning Board.
But there appears to be support for the market itself, which would be located along the stretch of Route 50 between Northway Exit 15 and the city’s downtown.
“Saratoga is attracting national people. I’m thrilled with it,” said Planning Board member Tom Lewis.
Another upscale market, Healthy Living Market and Cafe, is expected to open next year at the Wilton Mall, and both appear to be part of a trend toward smaller, upscale markets opening in the Capital Region.