Plans for a new gas station at 2400 Main Street won initial approval from aldermen Monday night despite some concerns about the project.
The gas station, on a now-vacant outlot at the Main Street Marketplace shopping center, would be operated by Food4Less, a supermarket in the center.
It would be located between the street and a row of small stores, and Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, voiced fears that the station would block the view of those shops, damaging their business.
But David Koppenhafer, a real estate manager for the grocery chain, said the owner of the shopping center approved the location for the gas station and presumably has concluded that it won’t harm the existing businesses.
He also showed a rendering of the station that shows the shops still visible through the gas station’s bays.
Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said she was concerned that the public restrooms on the outside of the gas station kiosk wouldn’t be attractive or safe for customers.
Koppenhafer said the company only included the restrooms because they are required by city code. He said the building’s design doesn’t permit customers to enter the space used by the cashier.
He added that most of the company’s other stations have a similar design and the restrooms are left unlocked, but that in a few cases it has locked the restrooms and required patrons to ask an attendant for the key.
Koppenhafer said the company will spend about $1 million to build the station.
He said it will differentiate itself from the Sam’s Club gas station at the opposite end of the shopping center by not requiring a membership card to purchase gas and said the station would provide a gas discount program for grocery shoppers at Food4Less.
Alderman Peter Braithwaite, whose 2nd Ward includes the site, said the gas station plan won general support from residents at a recent community meeting.
Aldermen voted unanimously to introduce the special use and zoning variance ordinance required for the station. It’s scheduled for a final vote at the City Council’s next meeting, on Dec. 10.
Top: A rendering of the proposed new gas station.