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Improvements made to plaza

The Planning Board recently approved a site plan for a new facade on the former Food Mart building on Springfield Street. Sander Family LLC. has been renovating the site for the past few months and plans to begin work on the buildings new facade soon. Thus far, work on the roof has been completed and crews are currently working to improve the sidewalks along the building.
By Michelle Kealey

Staff Writer

AGAWAM The Agawam Planning Board recently approved a site plan that would allow Sander Family LLC to create a new facade on the former Food Mart building on Springfield Street, which the company has been renovating for over two months.

The new facade, which will be a reddish-brown color made with a stucco material, is one of many improvements that the company has been making to the building, which will be known as Agawam Plaza.

Marcel Sander, manager of Sander Family LLC, explained that the property is split into two deeds. He purchased the portion of the property that includes the bank, former dentist office and one-third of the building that housed Foodmart on June 14 of this year. He has entered into an agreement with an option to buy the remainder of the building, which includes the remaining two-thirds of the former Food Mart and the stores along the right side of the building.

Sander said that "if all goes okay," he plans to purchase that portion of the building by mid-September.

He said that his company became interested in the property because he "thought it was in a good location and I saw the potential in it."

He said that Sander Family LLC has mostly purchased storefronts and has purchased "empty buildings that have struggles" before, but nothing as large as the property in Agawam.

Sander does not know the exact date that the renovations began, but said that work on the site started when the weather began to improve.

According to Sander, work on the roof, in which 80 percent of it was replaced, has been completed.

Currently, work is being done to improve the sidewalks along the storefronts and once that is complete, Sander said that work will begin on the new facade.

He added that he plans to repave the parking lot and improve the landscaping as well. He said that the parking lot will be similar to what exists currently.

Sander said that improvements to the individual stores will depend on what the tenants would want as a design to meet their individual requirements.

"All tenants require something that will cater to their needs," he said.

Sander said that things are "going very well, but not as fast as I'd like [them] to."

He added that everyone who he has worked with in the city has been "very good" to him.

Sander said he cannot name possible tenants or companies with whom he has been speaking to, but he did say that he has spoken with some national retailers and some local businesses.

He added that he hopes to attract business such as clothing stores or discount stores that will "serve the neighborhood well."

The number of tenants will depend on the specific businesses and their sizes, but Sander made a guess that Agawam Plaza could include about 10 tenants.

Sander said that he has heard people from the community speak about the former Foodmart building and said that many residents are very happy that "finally something is being done" with the empty buildings on Springfield Street.