WARRENSBURG - For decades, business people have talked about how welcome a large supermarket chain would be if it established a new store in town.
This week that dream seemed closer to reality, as talk circulated through northern Warren County of the prospects of Price Chopper developing a major new grocery store at the southern entrance to Warrensburg's downtown.
During the Lake George town board meeting, council members discussed how a real estate developer is looking into building a strip mall containing a major grocery store - reputed to be a Price Chopper supermarket - with as much as 40,000 square feet of floor space. The strip mall would host an unnamed bank and several other stores, they said.
They said the developer, who is Barry Feinman of Vanguard Fine Real Estate, has lined up four plots of land off Route 9 across from Warrensburg McDonald's. The plots sit on Prosser Road between Super 8 Motel and the Lincoln Logs' model home, they said. All are within the town of Lake George, although the area is commonly associated with Warrensburg.
Feinman said he has signed contracts to purchase the parcels, pending analysis of the plots.
"We are conducting our due diligence," he said. "There are a lot of issues with the land including a huge drop-off."
Feinman said wetlands, grade, and availability of sewer also posed potential problems with the land he has under contract for a strip mall.
Lake George supervisor Frank McCoy, town of Lake George code enforcement officer Rob Hickey, Warrensburg Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty and other town officials met with Feinman last week to discuss the prospects of a strip mall.
Annex the land for Warrensburg?
Citing confidentiality, McCoy and Geraghty refused to talk about the meeting, but Geraghty said either his town could annex the area and provide services, or the town of Lake George could form a sewer district to buy municipal sewer services from Warrensburg. He said the town couldn't contract with individual land owners for sewer service because the town has no power to have unpaid sewer rents and have them re-levied on tax bills, which forces payment by the threat of tax sale of the property.
Warrensburg Town Board member Austin Markey suggested that Warrensburg annex this area of town, commonly called "North Caldwell." He said this act might be the most appropriate solution, citing most of the business owners sited there support Warrensburg acquiring the land from Lake George. Board member Bryan Rounds has said the residents of North Caldwell, who'd likely see a lowering of their school taxes, also approve of the idea.
Markey suggested a petition drive to get the process underway.
In the meantime, the town of Warrensburg has contacted its municipal engineers to determine how best to handle an additional sewer flow of 3,000 gallons per day produced by strip mall tenants, Geraghty said.
Retail development like a major grocery store and strip mall would be welcome, Geraghty said, and he predicted they would spur additional commercial development along Main Street in Warrensburg.
McCoy agreed with Geraghty's vieal at this point. He confirmed a grocery store was one of the potential tenants in the proposed strip mall
"We are looking at prospects for different types of retail uses," he said.
Although he declined to name Price Chopper as a potential tenant, he said he has worked on projects before for the firm.
"We hope to bring the project forward sometime soon in the future," he said. "We feel that Warrensburg and the northern Warren County area is an underserved m