The former Harder's Shell station is going to be transformed into Milwaukee's first Amstar gas station and convenience store.
Harder's Shell station, located at 303 E. Hampton Road, closed on Oct. 1 after 29 years in business at that location, and before that, 22 years at Lydell Avenue and Hampton Road.
Fahim Beg, the gas station's new owner, plans to convert the three-bay service center at the west end of the building into a convenience store that will include a coffee counter, walk-in cooler, cash register and a bathroom. The convenience store will not serve liquor or beer.
Beg originally wanted to be open 24 hours a day, but the village's standard retail operating hours prohibit businesses from being open past 10 p.m. Beg agreed to operate the convenience store from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and possibly keeping some of the pumps running throughout the night.
At a village Plan Commission meeting Tuesday night, several commissioners voiced their desire to see the property spruced up.
Beg said he would like to make some improvements, saying the property is "an eyesore."
"It's a nice corner. It's pretty much an entryway to Whitefish Bay," Beg said. "We would like to make that into a nice piece of property, so people who are driving in don't see a rundown place. You need the community support to build a business, and that's what we are trying to do."
Fahim said he would like to do some landscaping, but the windows and signage are the only changes he plans to make to the building itself. He also plans to change the signage on the canopy and convert the canopy lights to non-glaring LED lights. He said he would ideally like to tear down the tall pole sign and install a brick monument sign, but he didn't present his plans to the village because he wasn't sure there were visibility issues at the intersection.
The commissioners granted Beg a conditional use permit, with a revision to include the agreed-upon operating hours, a requirement for dim lighting and a requirement that Beg submit landscape renderings to village staff for their approval.
Beg said he owns a gas station at Donges Bay and Port Washington roads in Mequon, as well as stations in Germantown, Menomonee Falls, Colgate and a station near Miller Park.
Beg said Amstar is not currently located in Milwaukee, but in addition to the new Whitefish Bay station, the company will soon be operating at a gas station at 27th Street and Carpenter Avenue on the south side of Milwaukee. The company does have gas stations throughout the Midwest, including Minnesota and Illinois.