Yale’s hardware buffs may soon be able to satisfy all their torque wrench and screwdriver needs with just a short walk from campus.
Harbor Freight Tools, a national chain of hardware stores, is seeking to open a new storefront at 84 Whalley Avenue, the now-vacant property that formerly housed a Staples office supply store. At a Board of Zoning Appeals meeting last week, attorney Anthony Avallone requested a variance on behalf of the storefront’s owner that would allow the proposed hardware store to set up shop, the New Haven Independent reported. The board did not vote on Avallone’s application for a variance, but instead referred the request to the City Plan Commission due to a technicality over parking space requirements.
The site of the proposed Harbor Freight Tools store has been vacant for two years since Staples closed its doors in 2009. Avallone tried to help the property owner establish a Save-A-Lot grocery store at the location a year earlier, but zoners denied the plan due to neighborhood concerns that the project would threaten the then-nearby Shaw’s grocery store. Shaw’s shut down several months later.
At the meeting, Whalley residents declared their support for Harbor Freight Tools as a potential neighbor. Sheila Masterson, head of the Whalley Avenue Special Services District, said at the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting that it “makes [her] crazy” every time New Haven residents must leave the city to purchase hardware tools in North Haven instead.
Harbor Freight Tools has 370 stores across the country. The proposed Whalley Avenue store would be open seven days a week and employ 18 part-time workers and 12 full-time workers, according to an advisory report to the board.