Donuts, Coffee and Gas Coming

Construction projected at eight weeks

By Michael Turton

It may be the only project in Cold Spring that has rivaled Butterfield in the amount of chatter it has generated, and ironically, much of the conversation has probably taken place in area coffee shops and cafes.

After two and a half years of rumors, fears, anticipation and delays, construction of a Dunkin’ Donuts shop, including a drive-thru and convenience store has begun, where, for 25 years, Kenny Elmes operated his Elmesco Citgo service station — on Chestnut Street (Route 9D) adjacent to Foodtown Plaza.

Riccardo D’Ippolito, Director of Operations with New York City-based MarkInvest Inc and its construction arm, RDI Creations, told The Paper that construction of the popular coffee and donut franchise will take approximately eight weeks, barring any major setbacks.

Rumors ended in 2012

On the evening of April 3, 2012, after months of rumors, Elmes first presented plans to convert his service station to a Dunkin’ Donuts shop to the Cold Spring Planning Board. Reaction was immediate, mixed — and emphatic. Few residents sat on the fence. While many supported the likable Elmes and his right to develop the site as he saw fit, many others opposed the development, fearing that the village would inevitably face an onslaught of franchise operations.

The new Dunkin' Donuts will include a drive-thru, convenience store and gas station. Franchise stores and drive-thrus are now banned by a local law passed after the Dunkin' Donuts plan was approved.
The new Dunkin’ Donuts will include a drive-thru, convenience store and gas station. Franchise stores and drive-thrus are now banned by a local law passed after the Dunkin’ Donuts plan was approved.

A study in June of that year by Cold Spring’s Tim Miller Associates predicting that the franchise would have minimal impact on traffic did little to quell fears. Critics complained that the study dealt only with the affect on nearby intersections and access to the site but didn’t address anticipated traffic patterns within the plaza area itself once vehicles had entered it from Route 9D.

After what a Dec. 5, 2012 article on Philipstown.info described as having been “a long, scrupulously detailed and at times tortuous 10-month process,” members of the Cold Spring Planning Board unanimously approved Elmes’ application to establish his Dunkin’ Donuts franchise. The development would also include a convenience store and the gas station would continue to operate.

A surprise greets the community

The community was taken completely by surprise when, on June 13, 2013, Elmes sold his service station. “I wonder what will happen to Dunkin’ Donuts?” was the question repeated throughout the village for weeks to follow. The question was answered in November when Syed Hussain, owner-manager of the Gulf station that had replaced Citgo, emphatically told The Paper that he intended to complete the Dunkin’ Donuts project.

A wake-up call

The arrival of Dunkin’ Donuts served as a wake-up call, one that at least some residents wished had come about three years earlier. In February of this year, Village of Cold Spring trustees approved a local law banning formal or franchise businesses, including drive-thru operations. Dunkin’ Donuts had made it in under the wire, but in so doing, probably prevented any future appearance by Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Baskin-Robbins and other franchise giants. The new law does permit smaller franchises that have up to nine outlets.

D’Ippolito said that initially, the Gulf gas station will remain open during construction. At some point though, he said power will have to be cut off to the pumps for a period of time. As construction of the Dunkin’ Donuts nears completion, the pumps will be put back in service.

Photos by M. Turton

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