Stewart’s plans a new shop with gas pumps and car wash for Route 155 on city line

— Stewart’s document shown to the Pine Bush Neighborhood Association

A Stewart’s convenience store with gas pumps and a one-bay automated car wash proposed for Route 155 straddles the line — marked with dots — between Guilderland and Albany. Across Route 155 is Charles Park. Curb cuts are proposed for Route 155 and Corporate Circle Drive. ​

GUILDERLAND — At the Pine Bush Neighborhood Association meeting on April 25, Tyler G. Fronte of Stewart’s Shops got an almost entirely warm reception from the assembled crowd when he told them of the chain’s plans for a convenience store with gas pumps on the southeast corner of Route 155 and Corporate Circle.

The city line runs right through the proposed shop at 31 New Karner Road, Fronte told The Enterprise, with the larger portion of the square footage in Albany and the smaller portion in Guilderland. The project will undergo a joint review by the city and the town, with the city taking the lead, Fronte said.

Bradley Glass, director of the city of Albany’s planning and development department, confirmed this week that Albany will be taking the lead.

Fronte told the neighborhood association that there is currently a lack of food services for the offices located on Corporate Circle Drive.

Stewart’s also plans to build a one-bay automated car wash on the site’s southern edge; this would be owned and operated by a tenant that owns car washes throughout the Capital District, Fronte said, declining to name the company. He said automated one-bay car washes exist at some other Stewart’s Shops now, naming the Cohoes shop.

Stewart’s has not closed on the property yet, Fronte told The Enterprise. “We have an option on the property and will close on it if we get approval,” he said.

Albany County assessment rolls say that the Guilderland portion of 31 New Karner Road — 1.40 acres of vacant commercial property — has a full-market value of $260,462, while the portion in the city of Albany — 1.57 acres of vacant commercial property — has a full-market value of $250,000.

Pthreeorion LP of 25 Corporate Circle in Albany is named as the landowner in both listings; the company was listed as a domestic limited partnership on Dec. 23, 2008 with a process name of Hoffman Enterprises LLC.

Many residents at the neighborhood meeting said they missed the Westmere Stewart’s that had closed in March 2016 at the corner of Gipp Road and Route 20 and suggested that Stewart’s Shops would not hear a lot of objections to the proposed site, since the area is primarily commercial.

Stewart’s in Westmere has been vacant since March 2016 but will become a pizzeria. Nicholas Riggione, who owns Inferno Pizzeria at nearby 1810 Western Ave., has received a special-use permit from the Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals to open a pizza shop in the former Stewart’s site at 1827 Western Avenue, and he has submitted a building-permit application, according to Chief Building and Zoning Inspector Jacqueline M. Coons.

Riggionne said he is now doing some cosmetic work like painting and wainscoting, and hopes to open in a month or two. Riggione said he was happy to be able to repurpose the old Stewart’s building. “It’s a great corner,” he said.

The association member running the Pine Bush Neighborhood Association meeting quipped that someone needed to make a complaint, because they couldn’t send Fronte back to the company with nothing but praise for the proposal. In Voorheesville, Altamont, and Berne, citizens had raised concerns about Stewart’s proposals not fitting zoning regulations.

One woman at the neighborhood meeting said she lived in the Point of Woods development on Route 155, and that she thought the traffic was already a little dangerous at that intersection and that she was apprehensive about increased traffic on Route 155.  

Guilderland has had discussions with Stewart’s and with the city of Albany, said Guilderland’s town planner, Kenneth Kovalchik.

Fronte said that the 3,695-square-foot convenience store will have four gas pumps in a line, with eight fueling positions. For comparison, the Stewart’s in Guilderland at routes 20 and 146 has six pumps.

Fronte said that the curb cuts have not yet been approved by Albany County but are currently shown as one on Route 155 and two on Corporate Circle Drive. The portion of Route 155 that lies north of Route 20 is a county road, according to Greg Wier, Guilderland’s highway superintendent.

In the future, Fronte said, a piece of land just behind the convenience store will likely be leased to a tenant, possibly a bank, or as office or retail space.

Having two curb cuts on Corporate Circle Drive would make it easier for tanker trucks to enter, move through, and exit the site, Fronte said, and could also serve as the access point for future development.

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