A new, larger gas station and convenience store could replace the BP station near the town center after Woodstock City Council approved a new development deal at its Tuesday meeting.
The agreement includes reimbursements of up to $925,000 for the development through tax increase funding from the city, or TIF, district, Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson said. The overall budget for the project is expected to be $3.5 million, according to city documents.
The project would include the demolition of the current BP building at Country Club Road and Route 47, and the construction of a new one, as well as the repair of a nearby road.
Although the board approved the deal, two members opposed it due to certain aspects of the business that could be included, including the sale of alcohol and video games.
The deal calls for Graham Enterprises Inc., which owns BP, to tear down the current business and build a larger store that will span about 6,000 square feet, according to city documents. It could include a restaurant with drive-thru at one end.
The development agreement lays the groundwork for a future project, but construction plans and city and state licenses will be required before anything can be done, Anderson said. The plan calls for construction to begin in July 2023, provided all approvals are made.
The new station will still use BP gas, but the convenience store will be a TRIO, Anderson said Thursday.
While the new business would be classified as a “truck stop” under the state’s definition, business development manager Danielle Gulli said it was not intended to be a resting place for trucks during the night. The plan does not include showers or other amenities typically included in a truck stop.
However, the definition of truck stop means it can have video gambling, which the company plans to pursue. It will also sell alcohol, which must be approved by the city.
These are aspects that board member Lisa Lohmeyer took issue with. She voted against the deal with council member Tom Nierman.
“This is a special crossroads in our community,” Lohmeyer said. “At this time, I don’t find it worthy of the city’s incentives.”
Although the construction of the new facility is not eligible for TIF reimbursement, the demolition, potential car wash, removal of current gas tanks and reconstruction of the nearby road are all eligible, depending on material conditions. from the city.
For rebuilding the road, Graham could seek up to $800,000 in reimbursement, and demolishing the building could be eligible for up to $125,000, Anderson said. The money for the refund would come from new property tax revenue generated in the TIF district.
A TIF is a financial tool used by governments to help fund various redevelopment projects by allocating newly created property tax revenue in the district to redevelopment and improvement projects.
The company will also be able to enjoy the benefits of the city’s Enterprise Zone, according to documents.
Nierman agreed with Lohmeyer and said he was also concerned about truck parking in the city center.
“I just think that’s not what we’re looking to be like,” Nierman said.
Mayor Mike Turner said at Tuesday’s meeting that he was initially against the project, but after meeting with the developer and seeing their pitches, he became more open-minded.
He said the corner where the business would continue had been “unattractive for a long time”.
“I think the concerns are … justifiable and understandable,” Turner said. “It has the potential to finally be a catalyst for some improvement on what was just an unattractive piece of road at Woodstock.”
Diesel pumps are expected to be placed at the rear of the property and the developers hope to eventually add a car wash later, according to the material. The station is expected to be able to have 20 total pump stations between diesel and regular fuel, Anderson said.
A road cut near the BP will also be maintained by Graham as part of the deal, Anderson said.
Council member Bob Seegers said he was also not initially in favor of the project, but said he liked what the company had built in the past. Echoing similar thoughts to Turner, he added that he fears that if the city doesn’t agree to the deal, the property could sit shattered for years.
Council member Darrin Flynn said he hoped the project would spur further development in the area. The business is currently surrounded by a few vacant locations.
The new development could serve as an anchor for other projects in the area, said John Graham, owner of the company looking to develop the site.
“I’m optimistic there will be plenty of development opportunities,” Graham said. “We’re going to put this [gas station] here, and we will embrace and encourage further development.