SCHENECTADY — Minor changes were suggested Wednesday to plans for a convenience store and gas station on Erie Boulevard, as the project got its first official municipal review.
The Alltown market proposed by Global Partners LP would replace a long, narrow brick building that was constructed as a rail freight depot in the 1880s. Most recently, it was home to a Grossman’s Bargain Outlet. The building has been vacant since Grossman’s moved across town in 2009.
The current owner, Legere Properties, was unable since 2010 to find a use that would save the building, which would need extensive foundation repairs to restore its structural stability. Legere is headquartered next door on Erie Boulevard and plans to lease the site to Global.
Global’s multimillion dollar proposal went before the Schenectady Planning Commission Wednesday evening.
Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, which helped broker the proposal, said a number of minor issues were raised.
Global wanted parking spaces that are 10 feet wide, and the city wanted 9-foot spaces, for example. That was resolved by Global's agreement to have some spaces of both widths, but other issues remain. They include signage that is slightly larger than zoning allows, revised pedestrian access to the patio dining area, facade changes, rear-lot setbacks where delivery trucks will park, and landscaping details.
Gillen said those issues fall mostly in the category of “tweaks,” and may well be resolved by Global simply altering its proposal. Those that aren’t resolved can go before the Zoning Board of Appeals, which can grant Global a variance to skirt the zoning rules.
Planning Commission Chairwoman Mary Moore Wallinger also said the requested changes are not major or extensive. She said the commission's suggestions were largely aimed at making the market safer and more inviting for pedestrians — removing a driving lane between the sidewalk and the building, for example, and adding a door facing Erie Boulevard.
"We wanted to have a much stronger connection to the sidewalk," she said Thursday, and "a strong, welcoming relationship with Erie Boulevard."
The company said Thursday: “We are currently reviewing the recommendations we received last night for follow-up with the zoning board. Global Partners continues to look forward to working with the city to bring this project to fruition.”
The ZBA next meets on May 2. When the ZBA concludes its review, the Alltown proposal will go back to the Planning Commission, which could vote on it as soon as its next meeting, on May 16.
Global Partners LP is based in Waltham, Massachusetts, and has a significant footprint in the petroleum distribution/sale market: 25 bulk terminals, 12.2 million barrels of storage capacity, daily sales totaling 319,000 barrels and more than 1,500 gas stations owned, leased or supplied. It owns and operates more than 230 convenience stores, including many Xtra Marts in New York and more than 70 Alltown stores in New England.
The Alltown in Schenectady would be Global’s first in New York. It would measure 4,800 square feet, have six fuel pumps outside and feature an expanded selection of fresh-made grab-and-go foods inside.
It would stand within 300 feet of Country Farm, a convenience store and gas station, and within 600 feet of a Stewart’s convenience store that does not sell gas.