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Service station plans improvements

Delaware Avenue Valero project calls for indoor eatery

— The developer overhauling a Delaware Avenue gas station is bringing even more ambitious plans to the Town of Bethlehem that include space for a Dunkin Donuts or Subway franchise in a renovated convenience store.

Delmar Holdings LLC and Frank Hessari, the owner of the Valero station on the corner of Delaware Avenue and Elm Avenue, have already been before the town in 2009 and received approval to make a number of upgrades to the site. Only a few parts of those plans have been implemented though, one being the installation of a new sign, and these grander plans are intended to make the location a more useful stop.

“Now Mr. Hessari would like to have a much larger inventory and propose the complete reconstruction of the site plus new additions,” said Chris Boyea of Bohler Engineering at a Tuesday, Sept. 6, meeting of the Bethlehem Planning Board.

The station is now in operation and deals mostly with gas sales, but “obviously the inside sales will be much better when we have more to offer them than a candy bar,” Boyea continued.

The building's repair bays, which are no longer in use, would be converted to store space to significantly increase the usable area. A fast food-type tenant (again, Dunkin Donuts and Subway were the two possible tenants mentioned) would inhabit the space closest to Elm Avenue. The entire exterior of the building would see an update, with design by Keystone Builders.

The new plans also call for the existing gas pumps to be shifted to a different configuration and expanded to four islands from three. The existing car wash would see a complete rehabilitation with new equipment and drainage issues fixed.

The applicant was given instructions to draw up a before-and-after comparison between the approved plans and what's being presented now. Board member John Smolinsky also asked the developer to consider outdoor or indoor seating, noting that the corner is often an after-school destination for Bethlehem Central High School students, many of whom frequent the Stewart's store across the street.

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