The now-closed Eastgate BP service station at the corner of Ephesus Church Road and Fordham Boulevard was busy this week as crews prepared the ground for new construction.
Shopping center owner Federal Realty Investment Trust plans to replace the service station with a 7,761-square-foot, single-story retail and restaurant building.
The town’s Community Design Commission has approved the plans, but town staff members are still reviewing a revised application submitted in November.
The town manager also must approve projects in the Ephesus-Fordham form-based code district. The Town Council created the district – from Elliott Road to Legion Road, and from East Franklin Street to Ephesus Church Road – in 2014 to encourage commercial and residential development.
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Eastgate BP owners and brothers Danial, Erik and Sharif Rahimtoola closed the service station Nov. 30 but are still in the towing business. Danial Rahimtoola said they also are looking at a few sites, including some in Durham, to open a new service station.
The project site, meanwhile, is being prepared for construction.
Durham businessman M.M. Fowler, who owns the permit for three 6,000-gallon underground fuel storage tanks at the service station, hired crews earlier this month to remove them and the surrounding soil, town planner Jay Heikes said.
The Chapel Hill Fire Department supervised the removal, he said, which uncovered some contaminated dirt. The ground is being tested before and after the work, per state rules, and any additional contaminated soil will be removed, he said.
Crew members from Loflin’s Paving in Asheboro were at the site Wednesday laying down a fresh coat of asphalt. The asphalt will keep the soil in place until the service station is demolished and construction of a new building begins, crew members said.
Heikes said, if all goes as expected, construction on the new building could start in the spring.