BELPRE - Work began last week on the new GoMart convenience store and gasoline station at Washington Boulevard and Main Street where buildings on the site are being demolished.
GoMart announced last November the company had purchased the property including the former BP gasoline station following the passage of a beer sale alcohol issue in the general election.
"From what I have learned, GoMart will open the small former BP station and run out of it for a few months before they tear it down to build a larger store," said Mayor Mike Lorentz.
In November, Jacob Evans, the land lawyer for GoMart, said the Gassaway, W.Va.-based company was interested in building a new store from the ground up, which Lorentz said he understands the plans to be.
"From what I have been told, it will be sometime next year before they tear down the old BP and work on the new building," the mayor said.
The original plans for the property were to tear down the current gasoline station, which has been closed for several years, along with the building adjacent to it along Washington Boulevard to build a larger complex.
Work to demolish the other building on the property, which included two shops and apartments, began Thursday and is expected to be finished soon.
The letter of intent to demolish the building was turned into city officials days before the work began.
During the November election campaign, GoMart asked voters to approve the sale of beer before it considered purchasing the property.
At the time, Evans said the new store could add as many as 15 jobs to the community, but beer sales were important to the company because it allows them to remain competitive with other gas stations and convenience stores in the city.
Go-Mart is a convenience store chain which operates 100 stores in West Virginia and border areas of Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. The company employs about 1,200 people.
A message left for GoMart president John Heater was not immediately returned.