Developer Looks At Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Self-Storage On Route 27

The township’s Redevelopment Agency heard of plans to bring a Chick-fil-A and second Starbucks to the township.

A developer is looking to bring a Chick-fil-A and a second Starbucks to a lot adjacent to the Route 27 redevelopment area.

The project is targeted for land now occupied by Frank’s Hardware & Building Supply and Sunny Seafood on Rt. 27/Somerset Street, bordered by Kevin Apuzzio Avenue and the WaWa convenience store.

The project also includes a Secure Space self-storage facility.

Mark Healey, the township’s planning director, described the project at the Jan. 28 meeting of the Redevelopment Agency.

He said the project is still in the talking stages and the developer, who he did not name, would have to get some township buy-in for it to move forward.

“Apparently the Frank’s Hardware site is being marketed, and we have a potential developer that would like to redevelop it,” Healey told the agency’s Board of Commissioners.

A conceptual plan showed to the commissioners pictures the Chick-fil-A restaurant and Starbucks coffee shop at the front of the property, fronting Rt. 27, with the self-storage facility located to the rear.

Healey said both the Chick-fil-A and Starbucks appear to offer drive-through areas.

The part of the property holding the two retail locations is within the township’s redevelopment area and falls within the Renaissance Commercial Zone, which allows retail.

The rear of the property is now zoned for residential, so the Township Council would have to rezone it to allow the self-storage facility. The parcel would also have to be included in the redevelopment zone, which would require it to be designated as either an area in need of redevelopment or an area in need of rehabilitation, and also trigger an update to the zone’s redevelopment agreement.

Also, there is a part of Kevin Apuzzio Avenue that is not improved and is just a paper street; the developer is asking to acquire that property, as well as undeveloped property on either side, and incorporate it into the project.

Healey told the commissioners that the developer will not use condemnation to acquire any property.

He said if any of the property could not be acquired, the developer would have to alter the plan.

“Overall, I think this is why we do redevelopment,” Healey said. “WaWa came in, and then the auto parts store (Advance Auto Parts), then you have Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, the high-end self-storage place. It’s ratables, it’s jobs, it’s taking the Frank’s Hardware site which is probably functionally obsolete and putting it back into more productive use.”

Commissioners reacted favorably to the plan.

“Based on the renderings, it works very well with the neighborhood,” Commissioner Ike Agudosi said.

“My only concern, and they seem to be sensitive to this, is the height of the storage facility,” Commissioner Bob Mettler said. “They seem to be keeping it as far away from the houses as they can.”

“It’s turning out to be a nice little area,” Township Councilwoman Kimberly Francois said. “Somerset Street is definitely coming up.”


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