The Palmer Township Planning Commission approved the land development plan Tuesday night for a Sheetz convenience store along Route 248.
The new convenience store will be one of three stores in an 18-acre development at the intersection of Northwood Road and Route 248 (Easton-Nazareth Highway), said Michael LaCesa, a director of real estate for Sheetz Inc.
In order to get the plan through, however, a zoning ordinance had to be amended to allow convenience stores in that area. The land, which once was the home of a First Star Bank, is now zoned as a general commercial district.
Work on the land has already begun with the excavation for a CVS Pharmacy. It will be the first of the three buildings to go in the development, said David Lear, project manager for Lehigh Engineering Associates Inc. in Walnutport.
Lear said that CVS will be on the first lot. The second lot hasn’t been sold yet. Sheetz will be going on the third lot.
The CVS building will be 13,500 square feet and will sit on a 2-acre site pad. The store will be very similar to other CVS stores, he said.
CVS plans to have the store open sometime next summer.
Like CVS, the new Sheetz will also sit on a 2-acre lot. When built, the new convenience store will be the largest Sheetz in the Lehigh Valley, LaCesa said. Its 2.2 acres will include seven gas pump stations, 56 parking spaces and a 6,500-square-foot building with an indoor seating area for dining.
“It’s a growing area with a lot of travelers who need these types of services,” LaCesa said.
He actually doesn’t expect the new Sheetz to be open for business until sometime in 2013.
Currently, there are only two other Sheetz stores in the area – MacArthur Road in Whitehall and Schoenersville Road in Bethlehem. The headquarters is in Altoona with 407 convenience stores in six states.
When completed, the convenience store would have 30 to 40 full-time and part-time employees, LaCesa said. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“It never closes,” he said.
The next step in the approval process is the Palmer Township Supervisors. From there, LaCesa said, the company will need to apply for building permits.