Small move, big prospects

Moving is never as easy as you think it’ll be, even if you’re only packing up and moving across the street. Such has been the experience of QuickChek, the New Jersey-based gas station and convenience store chain, which unwrapped an approval by the Ulster Town Board in late December to move their Washington Avenue facility across Sawkill Road.

Site plan approval was given during a meeting on Thursday, Dec. 20, with the project still awaiting the okay from the Ulster County Highway Department for proposed curb cuts. According to QuickChek officials, it wants to move because of the small size of its current facility, and was made possible by the closure of a competing Mobil station on a much larger parcel across Sawkill Road.

According to Town Supervisor James Quigley, III, demolition of the Mobil station — which closed in May — and site work which would include removal of the existing gas tanks should be underway early in 2013.

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The new QuickChek facility would be 6,584 square feet, a considerable expansion over the current 2,870-square-foot station which opened over four years ago at 630 Washington Ave. on the site of a former Citgo. According to officials, the station will remain open 24 hours a day after it makes its move, staying available for traffic coming off the Thruway.

QuickChek’s plan includes the demolition of the 24-year old Mobil convenience store and building an entirely new facility in the company’s style. Derek Jordan, an engineer on the project, said the appeal of the move isn’t just about having a larger building, but also about accessibility and the space for additional pumps. Under QuickChek’s plan, the facility would have 12 gas pumps served by two 20,000-gallon and two 12,000-gallon fuel storage tanks. The site would also feature driving lanes to allow for easier movement for customers.

“As you get around the canopy, we’d like to expand the drive around there and make it more convenient, more efficient for cars to bypass when cars are fueling,” said Jordan. “So we have 37-plus feet of aisle width on either side of the canopy, and in front and back. In addition there is over 34 feet between the dispensers, which allows enough room if you have a car parked at dispensers on both sides for a car to pass and get to an open fueling position.”

Plans also include grading the property so the new building can be built above the flood plain level. Councilman John Morrow suggested the property also include its own backup generator to provide electricity in case of a power outage.

“One of the problems that’s been identified with the recent hurricane in New York and New Jersey is the lack of electricity and power in gas stations,” Morrow said. “People were having trouble getting gas as the result of no power and the gas stations not being able to pump.”

Morrow added that he believed there were no other stations in the area with their own backup generators.

Jordan said there were no current plans to have a backup generator on site.

“We do have generators to transport,” Jordan said. He added that there were also no plans to include a car wash on the site.

Jeff Albanese, QuickChek’s real estate manager, said the new station would be similar to the company’s Lake Katrine facility at 1646 Route 9W, which is itself a “prototypical New York store.”

Jordan said there was no update on what QuickChek plans to do with its current Washington Avenue location once they move across Sawkill Road sometime in the next several months.

“Thank you for the cooperation of the township’s professionals who we’ve had the pleasure to work with once again,” said Albanese after the project was given site plan approval. “They’ve been very cooperative, very fair and we truly do appreciate it.”

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