Morgan County Commissioner Bob Ford is concerned that the old Sheetz property at the corner of Rt. 9 and US 522 will remain vacant — an eyesore in the middle of town.
Ford says he has seen a pattern of Sheetz in the Hagerstown area holding on to old properties to keep competitors out.
But Sheetz real estate site selector Brian Dinges says — not so.
Dinges says that Ford might be referring to an old Sheetz in Williamsport, Maryland which has been donated to the town — and the town has yet to develop it.
Or one in Hagerstown where Sheetz is trying to give it to the city — but the details have yet to be worked out.
“We had one in Altoona and sold it within two years,” Dinges said.
“Generally they move within a year and a half to two years,” Dinges said. “It takes about a year for most of them to get environmental clearance.”
The tanks have to be pulled out from underground and the facility has to pass an environmental inspection. That’s what has been going on now at the old Sheetz in Berkeley Springs.
“Typically the reason we have moved from a location — either it didn’t perform or we were not able to expand the footprint of the property to facilitate our current design,” Dinges said.
The new Sheetz at the corner of Rt. 13 and US 522 opened in May.
“You are probably not going to see a big Walgreens or CVS at the old Sheetz property,” Dinges said. “The site is just not big enough. You might see a small local diner. Or maybe some sort of small format fast food restaurant. You might see non retail uses like professional offices, an attorney’s office, or a small used car lot — there are a whole bunch of other possibilities.”
“Until we actually start marketing the property, it would be like fortune telling to try to figure out what would go in there. What wouldn’t go in there is another gas station. We wouldn’t want to put a competitor in business. We do put some restrictive covenants on it that make practical business sense. But we are definitely open to developing it.”
When will Sheetz start marketing the property?
“As soon as we receive from our environmental group that it is clear of all protocols. They remove the tanks and canopy. They go through a series of closeout steps with the state department of environmental protection. I haven’t received those reports yet. Once we do get that clean bill of health, we will start marketing it.”
Dinges says the old Sheetz is “an internally owned store” — some internally owned entity of Sheetz or a family member owns it.
“I would say we would start marketing sometimes as early as six months, if no remediation is necessary. If there are issues, you have to go through the process. Then maybe a year, year and a half.”
“We already have eight to ten inquiries on the property from community agencies, private owners, developers, brokers. I have stockpiled them. As soon as we start marketing, I will let them know that it is available. We would start processing inquiries. It will be a lease.”
The old Sheetz opened at the corner of Rt. 9 and US 522 in August 1985.