The Citgo station and Big Apple convenience store at the corner of Belmont Avenue and Starrett Drive closed last week, and demolition began, Feb. 9 to make way for a new Walgreens drug store.

According to Belfast Code Enforcement Officer David Studer, the gas pumps and tanks will be the first to go. After the tanks are removed, Walgreen’s contractor, The Richmond Company, would be responsible for demolishing the convenience store, he said.

The Belfast Planning Board approved plans for a 14,000-square-foot Walgreens store last summer. At the time, David Latulippe of The Richmond Company projected the store would open in the fall of 2010. VillageSoup left several messages for Latulippe, but at press time had been unable to reach him for comment.

In early 2008, Walgreens’ soon-to-be neighbor Rite Aid went through similar steps with the Planning Board, pitching a larger store that would have occupied the same corner lot currently occupied by the Big Apple Store. According to City Planner Wayne Marshall, the company was close to final approval on its plans when it backed out in June 2008.

Across Starrett Drive, McDonald’s may soon be getting a face-lift. In January 2009 McDonald’s Corp. announced plans to raze and rebuild the 37-year-old restaurant in an effort to modernize it, both operationally and aesthetically.

Studer said a representative of the restaurant recently contacted the city planning office, indicating a desire to open the new restaurant June 21.

Douglas Quagliaroli, owner-operator of the Belfast McDonald’s, confirmed the plan to rebuild the restaurant this year, but said he does not have a time line yet.