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ALTOONA, Pa. -- Sheetz Inc., operator of more than 330 convenience stores based here, is finally moving forward with plans to build a new 4,000-square-foot store in Northern Cambria, Pa., after years of struggling with local business owners to sell their properties, the Tribune-Democrat reported.
Construction for the new store, which will be located near an existing Sheetz store, could start in 60 to 90 days, according to John R. Kachur, real estate counsel for Sheetz.
The existing store was generating complaints about its small size and location next to a dangerous intersection, the report stated. It is a common sight to see drivers waiting at the entrances for a vacant fuel pump, and empty parking slots are rare, the report stated.
"Our store is doing very well here, and we're anxious to rebuild it," Kachur told the paper.
The properties that will make up the new store include Ebensburg Oil & Gas, Al's Tire, Kerr's Tavern and the Raymond Whited properties, which were purchased by Innovative Consulting Group Inc. of Altoona, Pa., a development company that later approached Sheetz about leasing the space to them to build a new store at the location.
The construction schedule will be based on the time it takes to remove existing fuel tanks at the site of the new store, Kachur said, noting the current Sheetz store will remain open until the new store is complete. Then, the old store will be closed and its fuel tanks removed.
The new store will feature all-brick construction and four fuel pumps that will accommodate drivers on both sides, the report stated.
Meanwhile, the company's plans for a store in Middlesex Township, Pa., is slowly moving forward as its proposal for a store in the Carlisle Crossing area went before the township for approval, The Sentinel reported.
The Middlesex Township Planning Commission reviewed Sheetz's development plans earlier this week for the space across from Carlisle Crossings. The company has been interested in the intersection of Trindle Road and Army Heritage Drive since the beginning of the year, the report stated.
"Sheetz will want to move as quickly as possible, but they are submitting land development plans now," Middlesex zoning officer Mark Carpenter told the paper. "We have about 90 days to act on the plan, and we've already seen some deficiencies. They'll most likely be coming back in September with a new plan for us to look over and then recommend to the board of supervisors. The supervisors could take action in October."
Before the 5,000-square-foot store becomes a reality, the company will have to complete development issues first.
"Sheetz will have to deal with other infrastructure first, like sewage and water," Carpenter said. "It will be some time until they get approval and begin construction. It at least won't occur for six months."
The company will also have to work with the state's Department of Transportation for the store entrances. The station will need the extra street space because of the estimated size of the building, the report stated.
"It's going to be a new style store, typical Sheetz store, but its newest variety, with about 14 fueling stations, one kerosene station and possibly a diesel station," Carpenter said.
The planning commission will review the proposal again at its next meeting at 7 p.m. on Aug. 27.
This was not the first attempt to get approval for the store. Sheetz went to the township earlier for three variances, one of which was denied because it exceeded a limit for impervious area related to the land size for new developments, the report stated. As a result, Sheetz purchased additional land to eliminate the variences.