BALLSTON — Hannaford on Tuesday announced it wants to build a store off Route 50 just south of the village of Ballston Spa.
The 38,000-square-foot, full-service supermarket would stand behind the McDonald’s just south of Zepko Lane on the east side of Route 50. It is expected to employ 100 to 110 people and would be the 50th store in New York state for the Maine-based chain.
Company spokesman Eric Blom said Hannaford has reached an agreement with the owners of the property and has filed a site plan application with the Ballston Planning Board. He said a timetable for construction and opening will not be set until all local approvals are granted for the project. The matter will be before the Planning Board at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Existing Hannaford stores stand an 11 minute drive north of the site in Milton and a nine-minute drive southeast in Malta, but Hannaford believes there will be enough business to support this third supermarket.
“We do think it will be a very convenient location,” Blom said. “We look at a lot of factors when deciding where to site a store.”
Previous proposals for the 76 acres owned by the Rossi family, including plans for two different-sized Walmart stores nearly a decade apart, drew controversy from area residents opposed to a massive retail presence on the outskirts of the village. But one vocal opponent of the previous proposals, Liz Kormos, said she’s glad to see the supermarket proposal.
Frank Rossi II, son of property owners Frank and Rose Mary Rossi, said Hannaford reached out to the family the day after Walmart withdrew its plan to build a 137,000-square-foot store on the site in late 2015. Walmart had received town approval for the plan, but canceled it and dozens of planned stores around the nation as part of a strategy change.
A circa-2004 proposal for a 200,000-square-foot Walmart also didn’t happen.
Hannaford would be an ideal occupant, Rossi said.
“It’s a great site for a grocery store, we’ve always said so,” he said, noting that the family had sought a supermarket for the site in 2012 but drew no interest.
A key part of the development plan, a connector road through the site, is nearly complete. It will be paved soon and turned over to the town in the next month or two, Rossi said. The road runs south-to-north from Route 67 at Dominick Road to Route 50 at the McDonald’s, where a traffic light and turn lanes will be installed when the Hannaford is close to completion, perhaps in 2019.
The Rossis’ 76-acre site has been designated a Planned Unit Development District by the town, and divided into four lots totaling about 35 acres; the rest is undevelopable due to wetlands. The first and largest lot, 22 acres, is intended mainly for retail use; about 8 acres of that would be the Hannaford site.
Nothing else has been built in the PUDD, nor are there any finalized plans for anything, Rossi said. But the family is optimistic that the Hannaford now will serve as a magnet or catalyst for future development.
“We have a lot of office and industrial space that we’d love to build out but the market’s going to dictate that,” Rossi said.
Kormos said she couldn’t rule out the possibility that someone would oppose the Hannaford proposal but said she and a lot of other people are glad to see it. The scale of the proposed Walmarts was the cause of the opposition to them, she said; the Hannaford would be much smaller.
“I’m really actually pleased that it’s a supermarket, and that it’s a Hannaford,” Kormos said. “I am going to attend the Planning Board meeting tomorrow. My concern is, being an advocate of smart growth, is this phase of the development going to include sidewalks?”
The project presents significant potential impact to the village of Ballston Spa even though it is just outside the village border. But with proper traffic controls and sidewalks it would be a positive impact, said Kormos, a village resident.
“I’m glad we’ve been heard, finally, that what this area needs is a good supermarket.”
Rossi said sidewalks on the west side of Route 50 will connect the village to the PUDD via the new traffic light, where there will be a safe place for pedestrian to cross. Sidewalks will be extended inside the PUDD as development occurs, he added, so that new structures are reachable on foot.