WHEATON – The former site of a Suburban Buick dealership may soon be home to a new convenience store, car wash and auto shop.
Buchanan Energy Company, owner of Bucky's convenience stores and several Exxon Mobil assets in the area, hopes to give the southeast corner of Roosevelt Road and President Street a makeover.
This would include a complete overhaul of the current Mobil gas station at 1000 E. Roosevelt Road, doubling the number of gas pumps from five to 10. Additionally, the company is proposing turning the former Buick dealership at 1100 E. Roosevelt Road into a Bucky's convenience store with a 110-foot car wash and an undisclosed auto repair shop, according to a memo from Kurtz Associates Architects, the firm charged with executing the $5 million project, to the city.
"We think it's going to be quite a handsome development," said Kurtz Associates President Walter Hainsfurther. "It's a new prototype for our company and it's really designed to stand out in the marketplace as probably the class of the market."
In accordance with suggestions made by the Planning and Zoning Board at a Sept. 24 meeting, the properties will include several landscaping developments, including an eight-foot tall privacy fence with trees to minimize noise to the nearby residential area.
Hainsfurther said that while the firm had not researched potential noise problems associated with the location, the volume of the gas station and car wash are generally overwhelmed by the ambient noise of a busy road such as Roosevelt and car wash hours of operation would be restricted.
Council member John Rutledge said that, where it not for Council decorum, he "would like to get up and cheer" for the new development on the long-vacant lot.
While the Council voted unanimously for City Attorney James Knippen to create an amendment to be voted upon at the Council meeting on Oct. 21, some expressed a desire to ensure that the development be the mandated 15 feet from the street required in the city code, instead of the proposed nine to 11 feet. Council member Phil Suess asked that Kurtz Associates consider shifting its plans further east to avoid such a problem.
When a representative said that having to alter the designs too much would be a "dealbreaker," Suess said that the rules for such a project should have been known to the developers before they started conceptualizing it.
"I've got a real problem when you come in here and say, 'Well, you know, we struck our deal, we're going to do this this and this,'" he said. "That's putting us in a bad spot. You've got a great project here, I appreciate the investment, I appreciate the accommodations that have been made, but this is something that can get done."