April 14, 2011 —
Things are suddenly looking up for lower Main Street. With several large buildings empty over the last few years, the outlook for growth had seemed bleak.
Now, however, news broke at the Honesdale Borough Planning Commission last week that the DSFI building at the foot of Main Street at Fourth Street, a sprawling commercial space that had been vacant for several years, would be developed into a CVS drugstore with room for other businesses at the site.
“The front section of the building, which will replace the office space and part of the warehouse space, will be torn down for the new construction, leaving the rear of the building available for a warehouse-like company needing access to a railroad,” said Tom Shepstone of Shepstone Management Company, who represented Steve Putzi, owner of the spacious building. Putzi also owns the Delaware and Hudson Motel and the Fourth Street Complex, which are contiguous to the site.
The new CVS building will include a car drive-thru, which the present store does not have, Shepstone said. This is an important project for maintaining viable businesses on lower Main Street, he said.
The developer will seek a conditional use permit that will include a mixed zoning provision. The current zoning is industrial use.
“Mixed use is the description, conditional use is the process,” Shepstone said. “This means that we make a presentation of a plan to the borough which they react to. They expect the developer to come up with a detailed plan at their next regular meeting on Wednesday, May 4.
Mary Beth Wood, a member of the commission, urged that the borough follow the ideas expressed in a book called “Better Models For Development in Pennsylvania: Ideas for Creating More Livable and Prosperous Communities” by Ed McMahon. “In the book, there are several examples of how the CVS company has designed their buildings to fit the character of a town,” Wood said. “We would ask that they would do the same here.”
The other large Main Street buildings that are still vacant are the former Sullums department store and the three-story Himalayan Institute building.