Rocky’s Ace Hardware seeks expansion in South Hadley plaza

  • South Hadley Plaza in August 2018. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/30/2021 3:26:07 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — The owners of Woodlawn Shopping Plaza on Newton Street — the former Big Y plaza — are seeking to build a 12,803-square-foot commercial building on the site to expand Rocky’s Ace Hardware.

Rocco Falcone, the president of Rocky’s Hardware, said the idea of the expansion is to grow the business’s garden and lawn offerings, allowing the store to keep live plants in a garden center. Appearing before the Planning Board on April 26, the owners presented their proposal for site plan review and for a special permit.

“I think it’s a good move for the community, reinvesting in the community and giving it some additional tax dollars,” Falcone said in an interview. “It’s going to help the hardware business.”

The property was purchased in May 2016 by Falcone, Peter Pan Bus Lines CEO Peter Picknelly and the Yee family, which owns restaurants throughout the region. The group is also moving forward with plans to build a 72-unit apartment complex on the site, which will include a mix of affordable and market-rate rentals.

The Planning Board approved that multi-family development in October. In a site plan submitted to the Planning Board, the owners said they intend to devote the remaining area of the property to the commercial building, an associated 3,569 square food garden center, and the existing commercial buildings on the site.

In November, South Hadley received $2.71 million in state grant money to create safe, accessible bicycle and pedestrian roadway improvements in the area of Newton and Lyman streets, including the vicinity of the Woodlawn Shopping Plaza.

Falcone said the owners are waiting on some state tax credit money before beginning construction on the residential building, and that they hope to build the commercial building around the same time.

“We want to get everything lined up so that once we’re ready to go, they can go like dominos,” he said. “Then we have to coordinate the construction and things like that.”

Falcone said the Planning Board’s site plan review was continued to the board’s next meeting.

PeoplesBank recently opened a new branch nearby on Newton and Lyman streets.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at

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