After deciding to close the Shell service station at Magazine and State street at the end of last year because of high rents, the owners of University Shell on South Claiborne Avenue are planning to expand the convenience store to a two-story building with more food and alcohol sales, they told neighbors this week.
Mark McAdams owns the property for the South Claiborne store, but leased on Magazine, and the difference in cost meant that he had to charge $2.49 per gallon on Magazine but only $2.34 on Claiborne, he said at a neighborhood meeting Monday afternoon. Ultimately, he decided it made more financial sense to close the store than to keep leasing it on Magazine.
“The rent is just crazy,” McAdams said.
Meanwhile, he said, increasing retail sales at the South Claiborne store will help him keep gas prices stable there. But in order to apply for permission to sell alcohol, he needs to expand the shop’s floor area, and the only way to do that on the property is to go up, he said.
The service bays will remain a part of the store, but be moved around to the rear of it, and the car wash will stay on the end, he said. In addition to alcohol, McAdams said he plans to greatly expand the food items for sale — more coffee and tea options, packaged sandwiches and salads to go, though he doesn’t plan to add any cooking on site.
“It will be a high-end convenience store,” McAdams said.
Neighbors generally praised McAdams’ management of the station, though they noted some quibbles with it. It might be nice if the car wash wasn’t 24 hours, they said, because it is so loud in the middle of the night — and McAdams said he could add a shut off time. They asked for improved management of the dumpster, and others asked for a nicer fence — though that request would require coordination between McAdams, the owners of several houses, and the owner of the shopping center behind the gas station.
The request for the alcohol sales and the upstairs expansion must be heard by the City Planning Commission and given final approval by the City Council, said Jeffrey Schello of Professional Design Services.