Gas station proposed for James and Midler

At tonight’s TNT meeting, Mr. Tino Marcoccia and his architect, Mr. Michael Wolniak, presented plans for developing the parcel of land at the southwest corner of Midler Ave and James St in Eastwood. Currently, only one small building, Kristen’s Ice Cream, is located there. The pizza shop on James St. is also part of the parcel to be developed. Approximately 45 residents were in attendance, along with the usual representatives of city government and the police force.

To be brief, the proposal is for a Sunoco gas station with its usual A-Plus convenience store, plus space for three more businesses. Mr. Wolniak assured the audience that they had, over the years, tried out a variety of ways to site the buildings. Limited by the requirements of Sunoco to make the signs and the pumps visible, the businesses can’t front onto James St.

Some concerns were raised, among them the feasibility of having two gas stations within a quarter mile of each other. One person said, “We’ll end up with an empty gas station,” in reference to the Mobil Station, “instead of an empty lot.” Others were concerned about the new traffic patterns created by two entrances from James St.  One already exists but is not used, and the other, even closer to Midler, would be the largest one and would be new.

Mr. Wolniak said that a traffic study has been done that indicates that 35,000 cars per day go by on James St. and 19,000 per day on Midler. However, no traffic study focused on the new use of curb cuts on James has been done yet. It was indicated that there is a tenant lined up for the convenience store but not for the other three shops.

Common Councilor Kathleen Joy pointed out that there will be many more opportunities for public input, since they will need a special permit for the gas station and waivers of the design guidelines.
Site plan: James St. and Midler Ave. southwest corner
View from James Street
View from James Street
View from Midler Ave
View from Midler Ave

9 thoughts on “Gas station proposed for James and Midler”

  1. I’d be surprised if this would supplant the Mobil station, and it’s certainly a more pedestrian-friendly design than the Mobil is. Many parts of this area have stations across the street from each other without detriment – especially relatively small ones such as this. And as far as business-district friendly gas stations go, this looks pretty good. I like the attention to the goals of the overlay without taking away function of a clearly car-dependent enterprise.

    Can’t tell from the print – does this go all of the way over to the Edwards side, supplanting the existing mostly vacant brick structure and the frequently short-lived restaurant space? It would be nice to see that whole stretch helped by this project – and it’s not a bad way of doing it, in my opinion.

    Seems like a good concept, will be interesting to see how it develops. A nice way of filling in one of the district’s gaps.

  2. Wow, Marcoccia is really thinking outside the box here. Another gas station and retail spaces that will be leased by a pawn shop, hair salon, and cell phone store? Maybe he should contact CVS, as I think Eastwood needs a new pharmacy too.

  3. Can we work in a positive fashion here somehow? What kinds of businesses could bring people TO Eastwood to spend money? What would make Mr. Marcoccia the kind of income he needs? Who has the ability to do the research and attract the kinds of businesses that would make a positive difference?

  4. I don’t see the two gas stations as being a problem of one “siphoning off” customers from another. A lot of people are brand loyal, if only for the fact that they have one company’s card and not the other.

    As far as fronting on James St goes, it would be nice if the “Shoe Repair” unit fronted there, even though the rest of the model doesn’t.

    What kinds of businesses would attract people to Eastwood? Unfortunately, none that I can think of. Eastwood is not a destination, it’s a place where people live, and the businesses that spring up around here will try to cater to the population that’s already here. Think about it, how many destination businesses are there in Eastwood? Two that I can think of: Friendly’s and Sacred Melody. We have the only Friendly’s in the city proper. Erie Blvd is really close, but that’s DeWitt. And Sacred Melody isn’t the destination it used to be, since you can get a lot of their product online. Anyone remember when it used to be a lot bigger?

    The banks we have aren’t “destinations,” they were placed to serve a population that was already here, not to attract new people to the area. Before the digital era totally made vinyl pointless, CNY Music Service used to be a destination for people looking for the last place that they might be able to buy “singles.” Dalton’s may be a destination for people looking for a certain type of furniture (Actually, are they still there? I don’t much pay attention to that corner anymore since we moved from Peck eight years ago.). Is The Palace really a destination? Is it the kind of destination that The Manlius Cinema is? I’ve never seen it full, but maybe I’m going for the wrong movies. Hmm…come to think of it, I’ve never seen any of the mall theaters full.

    Nope, except for Sacred Melody and Friendly’s, all the businesses in Eastwood are here to provide services to the people already here, and not to bring new people in. They’re neighborhood businesses. But, if you think of Eastwood as a small town, then we’re not much different from a place like Minoa. I can’t think of a single thing you can get in Minoa that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s not a destination, it’s a place where people live, and the businesses that have sprung up there have done so to support those people so that they don’t have to take their money outside of town or so that they don’t have to drive to Fayetteville or Manlius for the everyday stuff they need.

    With all that in mind, let’s remember that while James St may be *our* “Main St,” it’s not *the* “Main St.”

  5. Thank you, Lonnie, for posting so quickly. I can’t make it to TNT meetings on Monday nights, so I was glad to get a report so quickly.

    I, for one, would be very glad to see some of the landscaping that appears to be proposed happen around that intersection. As it stands, that intersection is concrete central and not at all appealing to walk through.

    It would be nice for the ice cream shop to stay and even more pleasant to enjoy a cone if there were a few trees and shrubs around.

    Other brainstorming: I’d love to see an all-year farmer’s market shop, that could branch out into the perimeter of the parking area a bit in warmer weather.

  6. If I’m not mistaken, there are already three curb cuts there – two into the ice cream place (infrequently used) and the one along the right side of the former Jalapeno’s (among other things that have been in that little spot) that serves as that property’s driveway. If anything, the curb cuts shown seem like they’re further from the intersection than the existing ones for the ice cream stand. Higher resolution versions of the diagram would be helpful when you get them :-)

  7. Regarding design … Is there an existing gas station/convenience store in Syracuse that could serve as a design to emulate for this site?

    Regarding uses … A bakery would be wonderful. Shoe repair would be nice. A grocery store could fill the void that will be created with the departure of P&C. There’s also bicycle sales and repair; a police storefront; and a shoe store (for WALKABLE Eastwood!).

    Pitch In.

  8. In support of Keith’s post – Eastwood, to me, is not a destination, it’s a neighorhood. There’s been a lot of talk lately about the need for destination restaurants, shops, etc. I have to wonder, do we really want to be a “destination”? Sure, it would be nice to have those business for ourselves but do we want to have people (and their cars) coming here from all over Central NY?

    Parking is already an issue when there is a big event at the Palace, imagine what it might be like for the folks that live nearby if a “destination” restaurant opened at the Steak and Sundae property or one of the other open sites?

    I’m not suggesting that we don’t need development in Eastwood, we most surely do but I do think we need to be careful what we wish for – we might just get it!

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