WATERTOWN — Stewart’s Shops has approached the city about constructing a new, larger convenience store a few blocks down from its existing location on Washington Street.
A representative from the Ballston Spa, Saratoga County, company recently contacted Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith to see if the City Council would have any objections with building the new store on three vacant lots at Washington Street and Flower Avenue East.
“It’s early on in the process,” said Erika Komoroske, a public relations specialist with Stewart’s Shops.
She declined to answer questions about specifics of the project on Wednesday, citing the company has not yet filed for a special use permit with the city’s Planning Department.
The existing convenience store is at 1226 Washington St., several blocks from the proposed location of the existing store. Now vacant lots, the three properties at 703, 707 and 715 Washington St. were once the site of apartment buildings and have been up for sale for a few years.
They are owned by Hedy M. Cirrincione, who demolished the rental properties after she was tired of being a landlord.
Mayor Smith brought up the proposal at Monday night’s council meeting to see what council members thought about it.
The city plans to get input from residents living nearby, he said.
“It’s really up to council and up to the neighborhood,” Mayor Smith said.
Stewart’s Shops sent conceptual plans for three options of the convenience store.
Plans show a bigger store on a bigger footprint for the property, compared to the existing store that has just a handful of parking spaces on the cramped site.
The mayor mentioned the new location is in proximity of a series of professional and medical offices, including the QuikMed Urgent Care that he owns, and near Samaritan Medical Center.
No other retail businesses are close by, he said.
Mayor Smith said he would have concerns about the increase in traffic the convenience store would create.
Councilman Ryan Henry-Wilkinson said he briefly talked to the mayor about the project a few weeks ago. He thinks the convenience store could change the character of the neighborhood.
“Right now, I think I would oppose it,” he said. “I don’t think a gas station would fit in the neighborhood.”
If the project would receive approval, council members could limit the hours of operation as spelled out in the special use permit, Mayor Smith said.
The existing Washington Street convenience store opens at 4:30 a.m. and closes at midnight.
The council will talk more about relocating the current Stewart’s Shops in the next several weeks.