CHESHIRE -- O'Connell's Convenience Plus is on track to complete an ongoing project to build a new North Street store, while tearing down the old, by June.
The finished product, according to plans, will be a roughly 4,800-square-foot space that will feature expanded O'Connell's offerings, including a deli, an expanded cooler space and a Slurpee machine, along with a Dunkin' Donuts franchise with a drive-thru.
"We want to update everything," James Sobon, a general manager of the chain's Northampton location, said of the project Wednesday.
This includes a new building, whose framework went up over the past several weeks, an addition of two extra pumps and extensive underground work on septic, storage tanks and fuel lines, some of which were already completed earlier this year. Sobon did not have an estimate on the overall cost of the project.
Sobon said an aim of the project is to bring the store up to modern specifications and make it sustainable for years to come. The former single-walled gas tanks located at the site will be removed to comply with a state initiative, part of the motivation behind the overall project. New tanks are already in place.
"Through winter, we're going to work on the inside of the store ... to get everything ready," Sobon said. "When we shut down the [current store] for good sometime this spring, we're going to be closed for approximately eight to 10 weeks. ... We won't reopen until
Sobon said the temporary closure is likely to occur sometime in April. Progress has been good so far, he said.
"It's starting to move along now," Sobon said. " ... Everything has gone very smooth and the town was very cooperative."
The business gained approval for its proposal from the Planning Board back in 2006, but the state of the economy has held up progress since then.
O'Connell's representatives earned new approvals from the board several months ago, once a 22-foot retaining wall located behind the store was finished.
Charles Howard, of the town Planning Board, said that -- apart from a larger, electronic sign approved by board members in a three-to-two vote -- little has changed in the overall plan.
"Everything is essentially the same," Howard said. "They dropped the bank out but there'll still be a Dunkin' Donuts."
A bank branch was included in initial plans, but O'Connell's chief financial officer George Dickhout said earlier this year that recent local bank mergers made the development unlikely.
Howard was pleased with the proceedings to this point.
"[O'Connell's is] living up to all expectations and requirements," he said.
To reach Phil Demers, email