Stewart's dropped from Blessings Corner project-Updated

Developer will propose more condominiums in North Bethlehem application

A developer that was aiming to bring a set of condominiums and a Stewart's gas station to Russell Road in North Bethlehem has dropped the Stewart's from the Blessings Corner project.

Daniel Hershberg, of project engineers Hershberg and Hershberg, said the applicant decided to remove the Stewart's store from the proposal after nearby residents spoke out against it at community forums and a Feb. 2 public hearing before the Planning Board.

"The applicant heard from the residents concerned, and we thought that it was quite likely that the PDD [Planned Development District] would not pass with a positive recommendation from the Planning Board with the Stewart's store included," Hershberg said.

The developer will instead be amending the proposal to include another set of 12 condominium units at the corner of Krumkill and Russell roads, bringing to total number of condos up to 56.

"The Stewart's store, although it was a component, was not the driving component in regard to this PDD," Hershberg said. "The market still exists for those [condominiums], and I think it's a great transition."

A member of Russell Road Partners, the project applicant, deferred comment to Hershberg.

Tom Mailey, a spokesman for Stewart's Stores, said while the company felt the location was excellent for a Stewart's, the resident opposition did cause the company to reexamine the plan.

"We felt that there was [a need], but a lot of people felt that they'd rather just have us where we are," he said. "The neighborhood reaction was that they would rather see something residential there than commercial."

Blessing Road resident Jim Martley said he was pleased with the developer's decision.

"I think this is a heck of a lot better for this community to have the condos rather than the Stewart's," he said. "They didn't bother me as much as the gasoline and the Stewart's station."

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