Rite Aid in The Hills is getting ready for a makeover—but the complete overhaul is planned for inside the store, rather than as an exterior facelift.
Because the construction would be overnight, after the store closes at 10 p.m. and ending at about 7 a.m., Rite Aid's regional construction manager Ray Keating on Tuesday approached the Township Committee for permission to perform the work outside of standard daytime hours.
The Rite Aid at 544 Allen Road is in the Highlands Village Center shopping area. "It's a standalone building, but it's in a residential area," Keating told township officials.
Keating said after the meeting that the construction shouldn't be audible even to the closest townhouses on nearby Dorchester Drive.
He said the remodel — which he said is anticipated would begin after Memorial Day — would be contained within the building. Only some of the work, such as the removal of cabinets and a section of the floor, would create noise, he said. The remodel also calls for repainting, new graphics and signs to make the store layout more "friendly" for customers, he said.
The reason for the proposed night construction is because plans are for the store and pharmacy to be open as usual during the day, Keating said.
Assuming the township Planning Board is in favor of the request, Township Deputy Mayor Carolyn Gaziano said the Township Committee could prepare a resolution giving approval to the plan by the committee's next scheduled meeting, set for May 29.
Township Attorney John Belardo said the proposal would need to comply with any community regulations in that neighborhood in The Hills.
Keating said the Rite Aid chain is in the midst of remodeling its stores nationwide, and eventually Rite Aid stores in Lyons and Bernardsville stores also will be updated.
Keating said he believes the biggest inconvenience for the community will be some confusion for customers about where items are located — especially since aisles will be reconfigured.
But he said Rite Aid "ambassadors" will be on site to assist customers in finding what they're looking for.
Keating said the makeover project would take about three weeks to complete. He said that most of the initial 280 Rite Aid remodels have been in urban areas.