Rock Crusher gas station and store

Plans are in the works for this gas station and convenience store located at State Road 44 and North Rock Crusher Road in Crystal River to be torn down and replaced with a new, larger gas station and store.

Goodbye Kangaroo Express, hello Circle K.

Circle K plans to tear down the Kangaroo Express-BP gas station at the corner of State Road 44 and Rock Crusher Road and put up a larger gas station and convenience store.

The Arizona-based chain wants to build a new 5,100-plus square-foot facility with nine gas pumps. It has already submitted to the county a site-work building permit showing how it would reconfigure the parking lot and deal with drainage, utilities and other infrastructure.

The chain plans to expand the existing space to the west and northwest of the existing BP station, opening it up so customers can better park and maneuver.

Yet to come are the actual building plans for the store itself. No additional steps are required for the county or the planning department because a gas station-convenience store is an allowable use in that general commercial district.

Circle K in 2015 bought out about 1,500 company-operated Kangaroo Express sites in 2015 and has been steadily converting them over to its own brand.

Earlier this year, Circle K opened a new store at the southeast corner of U.S. 41 and Eden Drive in Inverness. It  replaced the Kangaroo Express-BP on the opposite corner of Eden Drive.

The typical Circle K employs 15 to 20 people.

The Kangaroo Express is frequented by many who live in one of the five villages of Meadowcrest across the street. Dave Asher, who lives there and is a former board member of the Fox Hollow Homeowners Association, said the positives of a new Circle K outweigh any negatives.

Asher said the benefits include: more competitive pricing on gas; more gas tax and sales tax revenue for the county; more employee jobs from a larger chain; and (hopefully) a reconfigured intersection that makes for easier driving.

Asher said a right-turn lane going east on S.R. 44 to turn into the station would be nice.

The only negatives, he said, would be more traffic at the already-busy intersection from people wanting to patronize the new store.

But with the increase in traffic expected from the Suncoast Parkway interchange a few miles east of the intersection, it doesn’t make much difference, he said.

“It’s overall a win,” Asher said. “I don’t see a bad negative.”

The last year has seen an explosion of new gas stations planned and opening in Citrus County. Last month, the much-anticipated Wawa opened at the intersection of County Roads 491 and 486 with 200 people lined up to be first inside the store.

“Some people say this is not what we need,” Asher said. “Maybe it is what we need, with the growth (Citrus County) is experiencing.”

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Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com.

(1) comment

GMEN

Can't get it built soon enough for me!!

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