GENEVA — Byrne Dairy officials have long wanted to replace the antiquated store and gas station at the five-points intersection of Castle, Main and Milton streets.
Sonbyrne Sales, the Weedsport-based company that develops and operates Byrne Dairy stores, is waiting no longer.
After getting approvals from the city Planning Board at its Jan. 27 meeting, the company has begun preparing the parcel for a modern store.
“There wasn’t much public push-back (from residents on the project),” said Neal Braman, the city’s planning and zoning coordinator and development services director. “They (Sonbyyrne) have been sitting on this for 10 years. They were anxious. They want to get it (the old store) replaced.”
The project was delayed because Sonbyrne didn’t want to move a person who was living in an adjacent home the company acquired at 36 Milton St. that needs to be razed to create a big enough parcel for the 4,232-square-foot store, along with room for parking and gas pumps.
The woman living in the home has died, and Byrne Dairy went back to the city for required approvals, including a site plan and architectural review, as well as a special use permit and subdivision review.
The special use permit is required by city code for service stations, Braman said. The subdivision review was needed because the new footprint involves five tax parcels.
Excavation has begun on the site, and in time, the Milton Street home and existing store will be razed.
“They’re doing as much site work as they can,” Braman said, adding that demolition permits are needed for both the Milton Street home and the existing Byrne Dairy.
The new operation will feature multiple gas pumps, as well as a convenience store with prepared foods and what Byrne Dairy describes in its application as a “full line of groceries,” including a small produce section.
Braman expects a smooth project, noting that Sonbyrne uses the same contractors on each of its new builds, and there have been many in central New York and the Finger Lakes over the past few years.
“They’ve done this numerous times,” he said. “It’s a well-oiled machine.”
He expects the project to be completed within three to four months.
Braman noted that the five-points intersection where the new store is being built is being reconstructed in 2021 as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding the city received. Sonbyrne will be contributing some of the infrastructure improvements planned under the DRI project, saving the city money, he said. That work includes curb cuts, storm pipes and some landscaping.
Christian Brunelle, chief operating officer for Sonbyrne Sales, did not respond to a request for comment.