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More plans in works for Niskayuna's ShopRite Square

More plans in works for Niskayuna's ShopRite Square

More changes are in the works in and around ShopRite Square, with the old CVS store being split up i

More changes are in the works in and around ShopRite Square, with the old CVS store being split up into four storefronts and a dialysis center being planned for the office building section of the plaza.

The Town Board is set to hold a public hearing Thursday on the plan to split the old CVS space to see if there is any public comment.

That space is expected to house two restaurants and two retail spaces. Supervisor Joe Landry also said that the tenants announced last month, Sakura Hibachi and Splash Nails, would go into two of those four slots.

The proposed dialysis center was discussed Monday night at the town Planning Board meeting. It would be located in just less than 10,000 square feet on the lower floor of the east end of the plaza.

Those projects go with the expected demolition of the old Friendly’s restaurant in favor of a smaller building to be located closer to Nott Street East, and a barber shop expected to go into existing space across Balltown Road at 1521 Balltown Road.

“We’re pleased we’re getting more activity,” Landry said Tuesday. “We want to keep the momentum going.”

He pointed to the barber shop as a sign that that momentum is impacting the surrounding area. The barber shop, which is awaiting approval from the Planning Board, already has a “coming soon” banner identifying it as Mario’s.

The shopping plaza at the corner of Nott Street and Balltown Road has undergone a renaissance in recent years, spurred by the entry of ShopRite as a long-needed anchor in 2011.

The plaza struggled for years after its old anchor, Grand Union, closed in 2001. CVS, which faced Balltown Road on the corner near the Friendly’s, closed in early 2002.

The Friendly’s closed in 2010. Just more than a year later, the new ShopRite was announced. ShopRite opened in October 2011 and its parking lot has been regularly full since.

The biggest upcoming change is to be the demolition of the old Friendly’s. Town Planner Kathy Matern said no demolition permits have been sought yet.

Matern expected that to come once approvals for the new building are set. For that, the town is awaiting sketches of how the building would look, to ensure it conforms to the surrounding buildings. Those are expected in coming weeks.

The name of the business that is going into that building has yet to be revealed. But it will include a drive-through and it was described Monday night as a “restaurant/cafe.” Town officials have been told it won’t be a fast-food restaurant.

Demolishing the Friendly’s is expected to help the businesses in that area by essentially opening up the storefronts to shoppers.

“I would say the tenants are very happy that the road is going to go in front of them,” Matern said. “Now they feel they can be seen. Before they’d be hidden behind Friendly’s and no one ever knew they were there.”

“I think in long run, it opens it up and it will work better,” Matern said.

The roadway will go in front of that section of plaza, instead of winding around the Friendly’s building. There will be no parking directly in front of the businesses, only a fire lane.

Matern said she has received positive comments from both police and fire officials.

No name was offered Monday for the dialysis center, either. The center would have a capacity to serve 16 patients at any one time, engineer Sasha Foster of the Chazen Companies told the Planning Board, with many having to stay for four or five hours for treatment.

The Planning Board granted a parking waiver needed for the medical use. The center is expected to need fewer parking spots than a normal medical use, Foster said. Half of the patients are expected to drive, while the other half are expected to be dropped off.

The dialysis center proposal is to be back on the agenda for the Planning Board’s March 25 meeting for a public hearing on a special use permit.

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