2012-02-08 / News

Martin’s seeks to sell fuel at Harbour Pointe Village

By Michael Buettner

Martin’s Food Markets has filed a site plan with Chesterfield County to build a fuel station alongside its store in the Harbour Pointe Village shopping center on Hull Street Road.

Company representatives have been working with Brandermill’s architectural review board. They also met last week with members of the Brandermill Community Association, which includes residents of the nearby Harbour Pointe development, to brief them on the project.

The Carlisle, Pa-based Martin’s has long offered a Fuelperks program, in which the grocer’s customers can get discounts on gas at fuel stations adjacent to its Martin’s and Giant stores.

Martin’s is now starting to add gas pumps at the 25 locations it acquired when it bought the Richmond-based Ukrop’s Super Markets chain in 2010. Currently in the Richmond area, Fuelperks discounts are redeemable only through third-party gas stations.

Joe Falcone, senior vice president of retail services for Lincoln Property Co. of Washington, D.C., which works with Martin’s on development projects, said the grocer has one fuel station already under construction at the Westpark Shopping Center on West Broad Street in Richmond.

The chain’s goal, he said, is to provide “kind of a one-stop shopping environment” to compete with retailers such as Kroger and Costco that also operate gas stations.

Andrew Condlin, an attorney with Williams Mullen, who is also working with Martin’s, said when the company finishes adding fuel stations at all the stores where space allows, it will end its arrangements with gas station chains such as Uppy’s that currently redeem Fuelperks discounts.

The new Martin’s fuel station in Harbour Pointe Village is expected to be constructed on the site of a former First Virginia Bank branch at 13644 Hull Street Road.

Ryan Ritterkamp, an engineer with Bowman Consulting who is project manager for the fuel station, said it will have five two-sided fuel pumps and a kiosk for payments.

Falcone said the fuel station will have the same hours of operation as the grocery store – 6 a.m. to midnight daily.

Condlin noted that current zoning for the site allows the fuel station as a “by-right” use, which means there will be no rezoning hearings by the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors. The company is working with the county on a site plan review and has received preliminary approvals from several departments.

Some members of Brandermill’s architectural review board who attended the meeting on Jan. 30 appeared to view the plan favorably in general, although one member urged the company to try to save a large oak tree on the site; the tree may have to be cut down to make room for a driveway.

Some citizens expressed concerns about the project’s location next to an existing Citgo station owned by Trishul of Virginia LLC of Mechanicsville. Falcone said Martin’s had approached the owner about buying him out but could not reach a satisfactory deal.

Al Raimo, assistant community manager with the Brandermill association, said members can submit comments on the plan until Feb. 14, when the architectural review board meets again.



In the above article, we reported that an attorney working for Martin’s Food Markets said that when the chain rolls out all of its own planned fuel stations, it will end its arrangements with other gas stations currently participating in the Fuelperks discount program, such as the local Uppy’s chain. Christopher Brand, manager of public relations for Martin’s, said it is “premature to suggest that we will end our relationship with Uppy’s.” Brand said Martin’s views its relationship with Uppy’s as “a strong partnership” and that it will base any decisions about future changes on customer convenience and feedback. Brand also noted that Martin’s has only recently begun its program of building fuel stations at stores, so in speculating about changes in relationships with third-party providers, “We’re talking really many years into the future.”

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