WARRENSBURG - With the town still abuzz over the recent news of a major discount grocery chain seeking to locate in a new strip mall development near Northway Exit 23, rumors of a competing market establishing a store uptown on Main St. prompted another wave of excitement this week.
About two weeks ago, Capital Region developer Barry Feinman of Vanguard Fine Real Estate confirmed he has lined up a set of parcels across Rte. 9 from Warrensburg McDonald's for a supermarket - with as much as 40,000 square feet of floorspace - and a bank and several retail stores. He declined, however, to name the major grocery chain that was interested in the site.
Warrensburg Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty confirmed Tuesday that Feinman is seeking to purchase even more land at the Rte. 9 site than had been proposed two weeks ago.
Late last week, talk of a second major discount grocer seeking to establish a store in town surfaced.
Friday, Devin Dalpos of the Laker Development Group based in Saratoga Springs, said he had secured an option to buy a plot of land for a proposed major retail development.
Town officials said the plot in question was likely the former Bonnie Brae Villa property, off upper Main St. just behind the U.S. Post Office.
Sources close to the town said the site was being lined up for Hannaford Supermarkets, but Dalpos declined to identify the enterprise or the particular plot.
As of Tuesday, landowner Laureen Colbert could not be reached. But her brother, Ed Corlew, said Colbert had signed a purchase offer with a developer, believed to be Laker Development.
Corlew had hoped to rehabilitate the barn on the plot into a community center. But Friday, he said that if the land under the barn is sold, he'll be moving it to another site for the purpose, leaving the purchaser to pursue the proposed retail development.
Dalpos said he was looking forward to building on his chosen site in the hamlet of Warrensburg, which he said was ideal for commercial development.
"Our selected site is most appropriate for what we will be proposing to do - it's already zoned and serviced with water and sewer, and it will be bringing customers through the hamlet that ordinarily wouldn't go there," he said. "It will be a good addition to the town and to the municipality's tax base."
Thursday, town board members met with municipal engineers Tom and Jim Suozzo of Delaware Operations Inc. of Oneonta. They assured the board the town's present sewer system - its main lines treatment lagoons - could accommodate the flows from two more strip malls of the proposed size and water usage. They characterized the town's operations as exceptionally well-managed.
Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said he was pleased with the kudos, but more excited about the likely pending economic development in town.
"I knew we needed to foster more commercial growth and bring new jobs into the community, and I thought once Stewart's relocated uptown, it would be a catalyst to attract more businesses to Warrensburg," he said. "We're working hard to improve our community, and it's important to be prepared with good infrastructure."
He added that he and board members met Friday with new Warren County Economic Development Corp. chief John Wheatley, discussing strategies to boost jobs, industry and retail commerce.
Town employees are now preparing for Wheatley an inventory of vacant or under-utilized buildings and properties that are suitable for commercial development, Geraghty said Tuesday.
"In these tough economic times, we are very fortunate that developers are now seeking to site their projects here."