MERIDEN — The O’Reilly Auto Parts signs are up and workers are completing construction on the 7,000 square foot store at one of the city’s busiest intersections.
City Planner Robert Seale said he hasn’t received an opening date yet, but said construction “is coming along very nicely” at the 518 Broad St. site. Work started a year ago, but was delayed by the permitting and bidding process, O’Reilly officials said in April.
The design will also feature some unique elements that fit in with surrounding buildings.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts is being built on two lots across the street from two of the city’s oldest churches, and near the boulevard of war memorials. The historical nature of the site caused the city’s Planning Commission to ask architects and designers to include certain details in the store’s design that might not be included at other O’Reilly locations.
“It’s an important corner of the city, we want to respect the historical nature of this corner,” said David Cooley, director at Making Meriden Business Center. “There are architectural details on this building that aren’t on other locations.”
The busy intersection also required a traffic pattern to eliminate jams caused by customers entering and exiting the lot. Entering will be right turn only from Route 5 southbound. Exiting will also be a right-turn only onto Route 5, and a right-turn exit onto East Main Street is only for delivery trucks, Seale said.
Auto parts stores are not expected to be large traffic generators, Seale said.
The new store puts a second national retailer on the corner, and one of only a few on the Meriden side of Route 5. Stop & Shop opened across the street 20 years ago and a CVS rebuilt a rundown corner at 153 Broad St. O’Reilly will have parking for 29 cars.
“We’re hoping that adding new development in that area will spur redevelopment in that Broad Street area,” Seale said. “The quality of the exterior lends itself well to that corner. We hope it will spur business across the street to improve their facades.”
The building that housed the former Brown Jug liquor store is currently on the market. The improved corner could lead to some investment on the East Main Street side of the property as well, Seale said.
O’Reilly Auto Parts was founded in 1957 and operates over 5,000 locations nationwide, including stores in Southington, Waterbury and New Haven.
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