Archive for Wednesday, September 29, 2004

City gives Casey’s go-ahead

September 29, 2004

Plans for a new Casey's General Store in Tonganoxie moved ahead Monday night.

Tonganoxie City Council members unanimously approved rezoning three small residential tracts behind a vacant building at the northwest corner of Third Street and U.S. Highway 24-40 to limited business uses. The property formerly was home to Bitler's barbecue restaurant.

According to Josh Lieberman of Casey's Ankeny, Iowa, corporate headquarters, the company is eager to move to the new site, which is a block north of its existing location at the intersection of 24-40 and Kansas Highway 16. The existing location is cramped and difficult for motorists to maneuver, Lieberman said.

"I was there tonight, and it's so hard getting in and out," he said following the city council's action on Monday.

He said Casey's will demolish the existing Bitler building and will tear up the asphalt parking lot to make way for a new, larger 2,500-square-foot building.

The new Casey's will include four fueling stations capable of serving eight vehicles at one time, said Lieberman, who is real estate and store development associate for Casey's.

In the next few weeks, city officials will review Casey's site plan.

"I'd love to own this property within the next 60 days," Lieberman said.

Casey's purchase of the tract is contingent upon the rezoning that was secured Monday night, along with approval of the site plan and a building permit.

The rezoning that was approved on Monday actually was for three small lots west of the Bitler building. That area will serve as Casey's back yard and will be screened from adjacent residential property by a six-foot fence, according to City Administrator Shane Krull.

Lieberman said Casey's timetable for construction depends largely on weather. Once the new store is up and running, the old store will be closed and buried gasoline tanks will be pulled. Lieberman said it likely would be six to 12 months after that before Casey's could sell the property.

The company has received several inquiries about purchasing the site, he said, which will carry a 15-year no-compete provision. That means the new owners could not sell anything that would compete with Casey's -- from gasoline to pizza to doughnuts.

In the past, former Casey's locations have become car washes, banks, dental offices and attorney's offices, Lieberman said.

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