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On the avenue: new convenience store

November 13, 2013

by michelemorehouse

A vacant storefront at 870 Madison Ave. would be converted to again house convenience store under a proposal before the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

The board voted 6 -0 Wednesday to hold a public hearing on a plan presented by Hina Farhan to open the first floor of the empty storefront as a convenience store.

870 Madison Ave./Michele Morehouse

870 Madison Ave./Michele Morehouse

David Swyer, who represented business owner Farhan at the zoning meeting, requested a special use permit for the business to operate late weekend nights in the blended commercial and residential neighborhood.

The convenience store is expected to sell tobacco, alcoholic beverages and related grocery items, Swyer said. The proposed hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

The storefront has been vacant for three years, according to Swyer, and the site would have available customer parking through a lease deal Farhan has with property owner Fitzroy Collins.

Board members Joe Ray and Glenn Viele had reservations about the proposal.

“Why call it a grocery store, when no produce or grocery items will be sold,” Ray asked.

Farhan proposed selling tobacco,  alcohol and grocery items, but no produce.

Swyer told the board there are no convenience stores in the vicinity and that this location would offer service to students from both the state University at Albany and The College of Saint Rose. Two convenience stores are located within three or four blocks, including Campus Convenient at 143 Western Ave., and Speedy Mart at 213 Quail St.

A representative of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association spoke in favor of the Farhan proposal.  The association requested the weekend closing time be pushed to midnight from the proposed 2 a.m. Meeting participants also discussed permitting a six-month trial run on the 2 a.m. closing time.

Approved location for new barber shop on 1110 Broadway. Photo Courtesy of Albany Board of Zoning Appeals

Approved location for new barber shop on 1110 Broadway. Photo Courtesy of Albany Board of Zoning Appeals

In addition to the Madison Avenue proposal, the board also fielded a request from Bradley Brooks to rehab a former hair salon at 1110 Broadway, downtown, and turn it into a barbershop.  Glenn Smith represented Brooks.

Originally, the space years ago was designated as commercials, but has been vacant for years. Brooks hopes to revive the commercial status.

The business would provide five barber chairs in a 700-square-foot space. The building is located in a one and two-family medium density residential district is not currently a permitted use. The board approved the variance request in a 6 to zero vote.

The proposal suggested there are no nearby barber shops. The closest competition is Alex’s Barber Shop at 322 Northern Blvd.  -30-


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