SOUTHINGTON — Crews are working on a new 7-Eleven location on Queen Street next to the Interstate 84 exit.
Town planners approved the gas station, convenience store and restaurant in September 2021. A vacant Rite Aid location was demolished in December to make way for the new store.
It’ll include Raise the Roost Chicken & Biscuits restaurant, a new feature for modern 7-Eleven stores.
The Raise the Roof restaurant will include indoor dining.
The 7-Eleven location at 500 Queen St. is between the highway and Worldwide Wine & Spirits. There’s a connection between the two properties’ parking lots although it’s closed temporarily for construction.
Taylor Deegan, general manager at Worldwide Wine & Spirits, said he’s looking forward to the convenience store’s opening. 7-Eleven will draw additional people to the area, he said, and it’s a natural fit to have a liquor store next door.
“We’re very excited that someone is going to be our neighbor,” Deegan said. “It’s going to be a cool partnership.”
The opening of 7-Eleven also gives customers of both stores access to the traffic light in front of the former Rite Aid. The light’s an easier way to get in and out at peak traffic times on busy Queen Street, Deegan said.
“Sometimes a left is tough out of our parking lot,” he said.Convenience store upgrades
7-Eleven sent a letter to Worldwide about their plans for construction which they hope to complete this spring or summer.
7-Eleven had a location at 777 Queen St. which was closed years ago and turned into medical offices. That store was much smaller than the 4,700 square foot location approved by the PZC Tuesday.
A company official with 7-Eleven told town officials in 2021 that the smaller stores were slowly being replaced by larger locations with more offerings. The store chain has nearby locations in Meriden, Waterbury and New Britain but none in Southington.
The Queen Street location won’t offer high flow nozzles for tractor trailer trucks. Company officials told planners in 2021 that there isn’t enough room on the site for large truck access.
Town planners required a speed bump between the 7-Eleven and Worldwide to keep drivers from speeding through the adjoined parking lots.Importance of Queen Street
While the property had sat for years, town Economic Development Coordinator Lou Perillo said the building was built specifically for Rite Aid and didn’t have many other users. That meant a new user would have to spend the money to either heavily modify the building or tear it down.
“As much as it’s a shame to tear down a well-built building, it’s size and value was difficult to rent given the functional obsolescence in the building itself,” Perillo said. “We had a lot of folks who wanted to take a look at it, but it was an expensive retrofit.”
That a company was willing to redevelop the property showed how much major companies want to be right off a highway exit in Southington.
“It’s pretty big for Southington in the sense that’s how relevant Queen Street is,” Perillo said. “That’s how badly they wanted to get in. That’s how valuable Queen Street is.”