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Amid changes at the Pennington Circle, additional improvements are just around the corner. Currently, just 44 feet from a very active southbound lane of RT 31 on the Pennington Circle, Super Buy Rite Liquor will be undergoing some of its own major changes.

Approved at the October Hopewell Township Zoning Board of Adjustment special meeting, Buy Rite will be constructing a new building, more than double in size, on the existing and three adjacent properties. The new building will be a little over 29,000 square feet, as compared to the existing 11,250 square feet, and will be 235 feet from RT 31, instead of the current 44 foot setback. Within the new 29,000 square feet, about 20,000 will be the retail floor and the remaining space will be used for storage, offices and bathrooms.

“The current building is very old and we have done everything possible to keep it in working condition, but our customers and community deserve better.  It took 7 years to acquire the surrounding properties in order to complete the future site,” said owner of Hopewell and Hamilton Super Buy-Rite, Arjun Bathena.

Bathena’s family owns and operates the Buy-Rite franchise in NJ, with 5 stores owned by the immediate family and other 45 stores serving as franchises.  Arjun Bathena has owned the business at the location at the Pennington Circle since 2007 and also owns the newly acquired Hamilton Buy Rite, formerly Cedar Gardens banquet and store.

The Buy Rite property will also extend to Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, and a driveway from that road will serve as another means of accessing the parking lot. The loading area will be on the west end of the property with access on Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, therefore any truck traffic will be using the Washington Crossing-Pennington Road driveway, according to Bathena’s engineer, Robert Freud at the final application hearing.

The existing driveway on RT31 South will be modified, after approval from New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), to prevent left turns onto RT31 North, as well as prevent individuals traveling north on RT31 from turning left across the southbound lane of traffic into the driveway. To achieve this, the property owner, at his own owner’s expense and after approval from NJDOT, will still a physical barrier at the foot of the site along RT 31.

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This past year there have been some major changes around the Pennington Circle / RT 31 in Hopewell Township. Lots of local folks have had strong opinions about the restructuring and installation of traffic lights.

“I am a resident of Pennington, so I am well aware of the traffic concerns on the circle,” said Bathena. “The new site will have improved access points off of the circle. There will only be a right-in/right-out at the entrance dictated by an island which will be created. Left turns into and out of the main entrance will no longer be possible. An additional side entrance will be created on the Washington Crossing-Pennington Road.  We are sure that this will help alleviate a lot of the traffic issues by our current entrance.”

Aesthetically, the building will have a pale red brick facade with mechanical equipment hidden by the roof.

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“I have a lot of plans, which i have been waiting years to implement.  The current size puts a limitation on what we can offer our customers (product/service/experience wise).  We will have over 100 beer doors and a greatly expanded wine and liquor section as well,” said Bathena. “Everything will be state of the art while keeping the focus on a classy look and finish.  My wine manager, Michael, is a musician so I am planning on having some live music on the weekends for the customers to enjoy while shopping.  Im also interested in showcasing local artists work which can be rotated throughout the year.  Im very proud to be a resident of Pennington/Hopewell and I will do everything I can to make this store something the residents can be proud of as well.”

“I think that this is a big improvement to the property and great for the community,” said Frank Klapinski, Vice Chair of the Hopewell Township Zoning Board of Adjustments.

Construction is expected to begin next year. The new building will be built behind the existing store, in the location of an existing office building which will be demolished. The current store will remain open during the construction of the new building.
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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.

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