Future of downtown Circle K to be decided today

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on November 6, 2013 at 7:13 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 12:15 PM

Map: 7th Street and Roosevelt

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PHOENIX -- The Phoenix City Council is slated to decide the fate of a proposed Circle K 12-pump gas station and convenience store in downtown Phoenix. The issue? Alcohol sales.

The lot on the southeast corner of Seventh and Roosevelt streets is empty right now, but if Circle K gets what it wants, it won't stay that way.

There is a smaller store right across the street, but according to Circle K, it's so crowded and busy that a bigger station is needed to serve the neighborhood.

But the neighborhood, specifically the Garfield Organization and several other downtown groups, does not want the new Circle K.

Area residents are concerned that a larger store that sells more alcohol would attract bad business, increase crime and cause traffic issues.

Groups opposed to the new Circle K say their concerns stem from a report release last year by  Arizona State University's Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety.

The report is an update to a 2010 study that looked at data from Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa and Tempe, and found that "when compared to other convenience stores Circle K’s, were disproportionately responsible for crime and disorder, regardless of their neighborhood or city."

During a zoning hearing last week, Circle K applied for a permit to sell alcohol within 300 feet of a residential area. That's what City Council leaders will vote on Wednesday.

If the City Council denies that permit, opponents believe Circle K might scrap plans for the new downtown location, which has been in the works for more than a year. Alcohol sales are a large part of the company's revenue.

Those who support the new Circle K, including the developer who owns the lot where the store would go up, says the company has been working on its community relationships and should be give the opportunity to prove itself a good corporate neighbor.

The City Council is meeting at 3 p.m.

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