Manchester Price Chopper ponders expansion

Friday February 15, 2013

MANCHESTER -- A proposal to expand the size of the current Price Chopper store located at the Manchester Shopping Center Plaza will get an initial hearing at the Development Review Board’s next meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

According to documents provided to the Manchester town officials by Price Chopper’s engineer for the project, Speath Engineering LLC., the proposed project involves the demolition of the western 21,200 square feet of the existing building at the northern wall of the Price Chopper store. That would be followed by an addition onto the northern wall of Price Chopper to the northwest a total of approximately 20,700 square feet of building space.

When asked if this project would call for any variances to the town’s Price Chopper may be looking to enlarge its existing supermarket at the Manchester Shopping Center. An initial discussion is slated for next Wednesday’s Development Review Board meeting. zoning ordinances, Planning Director and Zoning Administrator Lee Krohn said that at the present moment such variances are unknown but also unlikely.

"The building is already grandfathered as a pre-existing, non-conforming structure; this proposal would essentially replace existing square footage in a realigned configuration," he said.

Attempts to contact Ellis Speath of Speath Engineering LLC for comment were unsuccessful before press time.

About 14,300 square feet of the addition will be integrated into the current Price Chopper store. The other 6,400 square feet would be devoted to other uses, according to the documents, nearly doubling the size of the existing Price Chopper Store.

Proposed improvements

Improvements are also proposed to increase the number of practical parking spaces from 143 to 193 as well as improving the truck loading bay to the building.

In 2009, Price Chopper attempted to construct a 40,000 square foot store in High Ridge Plaza, where the Panda Garden Restaurant currently resides. That idea met stern opposition from local residents in the area, who argued that the location was unsuited for a large supermarket.

An attempt to amend zoning boundaries at High Ridge Plaza to allow for a building such as a Price Chopper superstore was put to a vote during town meeting in March 2010, and the article passed with by a narrow margin of four votes, 385-381. A special petition was then put together by local residents calling for a revote of the article during a special town meeting in May and the article was defeated.

When asked if the proposed project this time around would work better than the 2009 attempt Krohn said, "[This Project] is certainly an easier ‘sell’ in the political world to keep and expand the supermarket where it has historically been located," said Krohn.

"From a zoning perspective, I see few, if any, legal impediments to their expanding on site."

Calls made to the Golub Corp., which currently owns Price Chopper Supermarkets, seeking further comment were not immediately returned before press time.


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