LANSING, N.Y. –– A rundown corner in the town of Lansing will get a new life if the Dandy Mini-Mart chain has its way. But first, it has to make it through the town planning board and some disgruntled neighbors.

The site in question includes 4.7 acres in parts of four contiguous properties on the southwest corner of East Shore Drive and Ridge Road, across the street from the Rogues Harbor Inn. Currently the properties host Liberty Liquors, an older vacant commercial building, and the site of a former Citgo gas station. A farmhouse on the Citgo property came down six years ago, and the gas station itself had become a decaying eyesore until it was torn down in recent months.

Plans filed with the town of Lansing by Fagan Engineering call for a steel-framed 8,400 square-foot convenience store with outdoor seating, two eight-pump gasoline fuel islands with canopies and a six-pump diesel fuel island with canopy. Along with the structures would be 24 parking spaces for passenger cars and trucks, six parking spaces for heavy-duty big rigs, and the usual complement of landscaping, lighting, signage and stormwater facilities. Access driveways would be build onto both East Shore Drive and Ridge Road.

Like some of its competitors, the Dandy Mini-Mart chain has moved to larger-format stores in recent years. The store is expected to be programmatically similar to the new Elmira store, with the usual convenience store offerings alongside fresh offerings, a quick-serve restaurant with wraps and burgers, a coffee shop and a fairly extensive beer cave. The store would include indoor seating for 25-35 patrons (presumably in a scenario where the pandemic is reined in).

Headquartered across the state line in Sayre, the Dandy Mini-Mart chain has also made a concerted effort to push into the Ithaca-Tompkins market in the past few years. Dandy acquired 805 West Buffalo Street in Ithaca (formerly Pete’s Grocery and Deli) and 825 Danby Road (formerly Rogan’s Corner), incorporating the shops into its 65-store footprint across the Twin Tiers.

A render of the Hector store. The Lansing store has yet to be designed, but the planning board suggested similar attention to architectural detail.

At the concept plan meeting earlier this month, Fagan engineer Jamie Gensel stated the project’s intent was to tap into both local customers and those traveling along Route 34 from Ithaca to Auburn. The proposed Lansing building has yet to be fully designed, and initial plans called for a flat roof. Members had suggested for a gable-style roof and architectural elements more fitting for the project’s neighbors. Dandy Mini-Mart General Manager Duane Phillips Jr. asked if the board might be open to a design similar in execution to the new Hector store (shown above), which seemed to generate a favorable response as they Googled and emailed each other renders and photos of the Hector building (a benefit of virtual meetings, one supposes).

Since the concept plan was first aired, the project has received some pushback from neighbors –– both residential neighbors who didn’t want a truck stop in their neighborhood, and from neighboring businesses, included a daycare in the building next door to the west with concerns about idling truck fumes and safety concerns for its children.

Although absent from last night’s meeting, the project is likely to be a subject in multiple Lansing Planning Board meetings in the next few months. Members will still need to declare lead agency for environmental review, conduct that review and decide whether negative impacts are successfully mitigated before any kind of approval can be granted. A timeline for project construction has yet to be shared.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.