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Thread: Walgreens or Drug Stores in downtown setting

  1. #1
    Member Glomer's avatar
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    Walgreens or Drug Stores in downtown setting

    I could really use some help.....

    My City recently updated its comp plan. It is a relatively small town with a major highway along one side of it. The goals incorporated in the comp plan includes protecting our existing small town-downtown character by pushing for 0 lot line commercial developments......etc. Pushing the suburban, big box type commercial development to the highway.

    So.....Walgreens comes in and wants to build at on our main street (the most prominent corner of our small town, downton area). The City, who although approved and agreed with the comp plan, now want to bend over and let them put a store in, of course setback, with parking in front.

    What I need to do is find some pictures of Walgreens (and other drug stores downtown) that show the following.....

    Walgreens in a suburban type setting (which is where their design and layout most often belong....parking in front etc...)

    Walgreens with 0 lot line setback (to show that it can be done....just in case the city does bend over, I can force them to follow the comp plan)

    Or other Drug Stores.....

    The kicker is, is that while they are saying how great they would be for the community and how they pay top dollar and do a top notch job.....they want tax increment financing.

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I can get you some pics of 0 lot line Walgreens and CVS stores, but they may be in the wrong context.

    Do you want pics from small town main streets or just any 0 lot line store anywhere?

    I lhave a CVS and Walgreens with 0 lot line, but I live in a dense urba, pedestrian neighborhood.

    let me know

  3. #3
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Re: Walgreens or Drug Stores in downtown setting

    Originally posted by Glomer
    I could really use some help.....

    So.....Walgreens comes in and wants to build at on our main street (the most prominent corner of our small town, downton area). The City, who although approved and agreed with the comp plan, now want to bend over and let them put a store in, of course setback, with parking in front.

    What I need to do is find some pictures of Walgreens (and other drug stores downtown) that show the following.....

    Walgreens in a suburban type setting (which is where their design and layout most often belong....parking in front etc...)
    .
    You're in luck because my hometown fell victim to this very thing.

    The Walgreen's is located at the prominent downtown intersection of the two main roads and state highways in my hometown, Streator, IL (pop. 14,100). The Walgreen's sits on the site of a former 3-story turn of the century Montgomery Wards, which was previously demolished.

    Anyway, the Walgreens is bleeding suburban character. It is setback about 100 feet from Main St. The front parking lot has about 30 spaces. and there is a 25 ft tall freestanding sign along Main St. There is a side drive-thru along the cross street. Walgreens also did the city a favor by buying up three vacant lots to it's NW fronting on a different corner and paving it over and installing no landscaping. Oh yes, they also placed a second freestanding sign on this other corner.

    Sorry for the long description, I don't know how soon I'll be able to post a picture. I will be going there this weekend for some pre-christmas family festivities. Hopefully, I'll return with a series of pics for you.

    Just don't give up the farm for a Walgreens.. i mean.. it's only a walgreens.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  4. #4
    Member Glomer's avatar
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    Those pictures would be great. Although this isn't a dense area, or city for that matter.....0 lot line, pedestrian friendly commercial development was what our comp plan is going for within our main street area.

    Although our cities may not be alike in density.....the pictures will allow me to tell both the Council and the walgreens that this is what we invisioned when we revised our comp plan.......Walgreens, you can see in these pictures that you have done it in other areas......this is what you have to do is you want to put your store in this particular place.

    Also, pictures of any other (preferably drug stores) that have followed a 0 lot line setback and have worked would be great....


    Thanks so much.

  5. #5
    You should contact someone in Mukwonago Wisconsin. Their citizens forced a refurendum on whether the City should sell downtown land to Walgreens. .

    I have not seen it yet, but from what I understand, it is pretty decent and seems to be excatly what you are looking for. I will be passing by on X-mas eve and I can snap some digital pictures for you.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The Walgreen strategy is small communities is usually to locate center mass, on the most prominent intersection (Main & Main, is the saying). They will push for their prototype design with a drive-thru and parking in front, BUT YOU DO NOT NEED TO GIVE IT TO THEM! This is especially true if they are requesting financial assistance from the city.

    Is Walgreens building the store or is it a private developer who will lease it to them? Most often I find it is a developer and they are afraid to push the chain because they fear losing the project. S/he will come to you with a sob story on the one hand, and a threat on the other that this won't happen unless you give in and let them build the usual mess. Stick to your plan. Give them a copy and point out the language (which hopefully requires good facade design as well).

    The company wants to come to your community because they can make money there. Positioning a building differently on a lot will not affect the cost of development. Is it likely to have a negative impact on sales? Where is the competition and what do they look like? When considering overall design and landscaping, keep this in mind; over twenty years, an additional $100,000 in improvements will cost less than $700 a month. Walgreens stores will typically earn about $300,000 a month or more.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Another suggestion.....

    Find out who the developer/general contractor for the proposed Walgreens would be.

    Then call around to other communities where they have done Walgreens or similar downtown projects to find out what's fact and what is - to put it gently - hyperbole.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    Originally posted by Cardinal
    They will push for their prototype design with a drive-thru and parking in front, BUT YOU DO NOT NEED TO GIVE IT TO THEM! This is especially true if they are requesting financial assistance from the city.
    I would agree with Cardinal. You do not have to let Walgreens have a parking lot in front. Stick with the character of your existing stock. If a setback building is out of character with area, don't allow it. Also, make their architecture fit your main street. They are buidling a shell around their floorplan so almost any style is possible.

  9. #9
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    A few images from a CVS in Mass where a zero lot line was used:





    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  10. #10
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Check with the planning office in Des Moines, I know they did some of those designs too.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  11. #11
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Here is our local Walgreens, not really suburban, but same context. Corner lot, setback of 50 along US-12; 70 feet along side street.

    We do not have a pharmacy downtown, but do have a Rite Aid (on opposite corner from Walgreens, what a shocker).


  12. #12
    Cyburbian ilikefish0's avatar
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    This store in New Orleans on Canal Street is pretty ancient, b ut it meets your criteria. It's in a very urban section of the city and has zero setback. I've been there a couple of times, and if i remember correctly, the interior is similar to most suburban Walgreen's. Hope this helps.
    Off to Zanzibar--To meet the Zanzibarbarians!

  13. #13
    Member steveanne's avatar
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    Originally posted by Cardinal


    The company wants to come to your community because they can make money there.
    Bingo!

    Once again I am a non-planner that works corporately for a major Rx chain and I live in the Chicago area. That should be enough hints.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Originally posted by steveanne
    Bingo!

    Once again I am a non-planner that works corporately for a major Rx chain and I live in the Chicago area. That should be enough hints.
    ...and I just put a developer for you through the ranks to get a high(er) quality store in Hoffman Estates.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  15. #15
    Member steveanne's avatar
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    Originally posted by boiker
    ...and I just put a developer for you through the ranks to get a high(er) quality store in Hoffman Estates.
    More power to you! Unfortunately, I have no says in this matter.

    (sigh)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    the horror!

    Here's my photo essay:

    Downtown Streator was built mainly in the late 1880s through the 1920s. The big building boom occured in the early portion of that period.

    Like many single industrial/factory small towns, it has experienced decline and many teardowns in the downtown area.

    Here's a rather intact section of downtown across the street and adjacen to the walgreen's site:


    And now the infill walgreen's site. Note the freestanding sign, parking lot, and large setback.

    The walgreens site takes up about 1/2 of a downtown city block and eradicates on old alley. this parking area is to the NW of the store and the 'front' parking field.


    And the second freestanding sign, just in case you didn't notice the expanse of parking and the monster wall sign.

    Site details: (dumpster enclosure and loading area.

    The drive through on the east side adjacent to the major one-way north state highway through downtown.


    Hopefully this helps!
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    What a shame to see that, Boiker. Walgreens could have easily placed the building on the corner with parking wrapping its side, and its drive-through on the inside of the lot. They might have even had a couple of floors above with apartments. Again, tell people to hold the line when it comes to the franchises. They will sob and threaten not to come (oh, horror!) but in the end, if they can make money in your community, they will do what they need to in order to be there.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by Repo Man
    You should contact someone in Mukwonago Wisconsin. Their citizens forced a refurendum on whether the City should sell downtown land to Walgreens. .

    I have not seen it yet, but from what I understand, it is pretty decent and seems to be excatly what you are looking for. I will be passing by on X-mas eve and I can snap some digital pictures for you.
    I had pictures of the Mukwonago Walgreens, and its great. I'll contact my former intern on Monday to see if he can get them to me for posting in the Cyburbia Gallery's Best Practices. Maybe Repo will beat me to the post though.

  19. #19
    Rite Aid put in a drug store at the main intersection in a town near my house, Lansdale, PA, which has a 0 setback and the parking situated behind it. I don't have a photo but I could get one next month. It's an ugly brick monstrosity that doesn't fit the intersection. They tore down a beautiful old hotel, the Treemont Inn, and put up a big brick box on the corner with no windows facing the street. It almost looks backwards, with the entrance facing the parking lot in the back. It's not at all conducive to foot traffic and basically ignores its surroundings, dispite conforming to 0 lot line setback guidelines.

  20. #20
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Monterey CA had a Walgreens locate in a downtown historic building. I don't work there any more, but I think they have pix they could email you.

    Walgreens will do what you want if you push hard enough and there is a good enough. However, they are extremely skilled at pushing for their suburban module -- even if they would be willing to develop to your downtown design standards.

    The only way to find out is to approve the downtown building and not the suburban building. If they think the location is good enough, they will build the downtown building.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Originally posted by passdoubt
    Rite Aid put in a drug store at the main intersection in a town near my house, Lansdale, PA, which has a 0 setback and the parking situated behind it. I don't have a photo but I could get one next month. It's an ugly brick monstrosity that doesn't fit the intersection. ......... It's not at all conducive to foot traffic and basically ignores its surroundings, dispite conforming to 0 lot line setback guidelines.
    You mean something like this

    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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