SOUTHINGTON — Tops Market owner John Salerno hopes to start construction on a new building in August and reopen in February.
A line of credit helped store owners close the funding gap between the actual cost to rebuild the Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike store and what the insurance company will pay. Salerno said they’ve also made changes to the building to reduce the cost.
Salerno was offered a lump sum from the insurance company following a fire that destroyed the grocery store and its contents in March.
“I could have walked away with money instead I’m walking away in debt,” he said. “I just couldn’t let it go.”
On Wednesday, Salerno met with town planning officials for a pre-construction meeting. The site plan application won’t go before the Planning and Zoning Commission. Instead, planning department staff will make sure regulations are followed.
“It’s to kind of help fast track site plans that really just need to meet the regulations to move forward,” Town Planner Rob Philips said.
An approval letter was sent Wednesday morning.
Philips said the plans are substantially similar to the building that was demolished after the fire. He said store owners are looking to move as quickly as possible.
“The objective is to get something up and running,” Philips said.
Salerno said the exterior of the building will remain largely the same. Inside, the store will have a modernized look, updated mechanicals and an expanded produce section.
Salerno and Betsy Tooker own Tops, the last of what were a host of independent grocery stores in town.