Hess Express construction begins

A canopy at the old Shell gas station at 3349 E. Tremont Avenue has been demolished and a work fence now surrounds the site. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Hess Corporation has demolished a canopy at the former Shell gas station at E. Tremont and Baisley avenues. It appears that construction on a new Hess Express gas station and mini-mart could begin soon.

The lot, at 3349 E. Tremont Avenue, has been vacant since 2007. Hess Corporation planned to open a new gas station there in 2008 but then delayed its plans, a decision that some have attributed to the economic downturn.

The city Buildings Department issued demolition permits for the lot in August and demolition work on the canopy that sheltered the Shell gas pumps began in September. The canopy was completely demolished by the end of 2009.

“I know [the former gas station] has been boarded up and that [Hess] wants to put a Hess [Express] there,” Scott Bernard of the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association said. “I think that would be good because it would replace the gas station that was there before. We would like to see construction as soon as possible.”

The vacant lot has been an eyesore, neighbors said. The corner used to buzz with activity. BP operates another gas station across the street on Baisely Avenue.

When Hess Corporation delayed its plans, neighbors suggested that the lot’s owner find some use for the parcel in the meantime. Andrew Chirico of the WLCA recommended that it be leased as a parking lot. Chirico cited a need for parking in the neighborhood. If construction begins soon, forget the parking lot. No problem, Bernard said.

“Parking is a problem in the neighborhood,” he admitted. “However, there’s really not much shopping near [the lot]. It’s across from a cemetery.”

The Buildings Department has issued permits for the replacement of two 4,000-gallon underground gas storage tanks with a 10,000-gallon tank. Plans for the Hess Express include a new 2,000–square foot mini-mart.

The lot has been well maintained recently. A construction fence surrounds the lot and several fence boards were replaced shortly after being damaged by wind, neighbors said.

Hess Corporation had not responded to request for comment as of press time.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com

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