What's Your Vision For The Sunoco Site?
While much of Main Street is booming, this empty lot – which serves as gateway to downtown – is a lost opportunity.
I’m saying it: downtown East Greenwich is in the middle of a renaissance. The restaurant scene is going great guns, new retail outlets are opening up weekly it seems, a vet is moving in next to Back to Basics. But one spot remains a blot on the downtown landscape: the old Sunoco site at First Avenue and Main Street.
There’s been action there lately, but it’s only window dressing. The property owner just had the gas tanks and pumps removed but he’s still looking for a buyer.
It’s been empty for a while.
In 2009 the Planning Board denied a developer’s bid to put a Walgreen’s on the site, saying it was too big. In 2011, TD Bank proposed a branch for the site, which was greeted favorably by the Planning Board, but then withdrawn for unspecified reasons before it was voted on.
Since then, nothing’s come before the town. As Town Planning Director Lisa Bourbonnais has said, the site serves as a gateway to downtown. Because it fronts on two busy streets, the amount of traffic coming and going needs to be part of the equation. So, could a coffee shop, for instance, go there, or would that bring too much traffic (a la Dunkin Donuts across the street?).
A bank, with its limited hours and more leisurely traffic flow, would probably suit but does East Greenwich really need another bank?
Some have suggested putting a park there. Nice idea, but how does a property owner make money on a park? And where’s the tax revenue for the town?
A restaurant? A gift store? A bakery? Office space?
What do you suggest? Leave your ideas in the comments section. Let’s jump start this part of Main Street!