Grand Avenue and 54th Street West

The intersection of Grand Avenue and 54th Street West, where a new grocery store with a pharmacy drive-through has been proposed. The Billings City Council approved special review over the drive-through Monday.

CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff

A proposed new grocery store complex on Billings’ western edge is a step closer to construction, which could begin in three months.

The Billings City Zoning Commission voted Tuesday to recommend approval of a special review of a drive-through for a pharmacy at the site at the northeastern corner of Grand Avenue and 54th Street West, apparently an Albertsons.

A special review was required because the drive-through is facing a residential neighborhood, said Nicole Cromwell, a city planner. The eight-acre site is already zoned for commercial use.

The Billings City Council will now consider the special review. The developer also must apply for city permits to start building.

Cromwell said the city is also considering widening Grand Avenue between 52nd and 58th streets west to accommodate the increase in traffic. The new Ben Steele Middle School is under construction at the 56th Street West intersection.

Broker Charlie Hamwey, who is representing land owner Bishop Fox Co., declined to confirm the grocery store until the deal is finalized in about a month. Officials at Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons have indicated they’re looking to build a new store in Montana.

Construction would likely begin this spring, Hamwey said.

“When it’s fully developed, it’s going to be a jewel to the area,” Hamwey said.

Two neighbors spoke against the zoning commission recommendation, expressing concerns about truck noise and a walking path that could potentially give store customers easy access into their neighborhood.

Michael Larson, a zoning commission member, said he lives near Albertsons at the corner of Grand Avenue and Rehberg Lane and likes having a walking path to the store.

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Business reporter for The Billings Gazette.