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Walgreens looking into El Centro site

April 24, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

If a Walgreens Drug Store is going to locate in El Centro, the city will have to meet it half way.

Chicago-based Walgreens corporate spokeswoman Carol Hively said the company is considering numerous locations throughout the state for 195 new stores it would like to open by 2004.

"Some will pan out, some won't," she said.

Hively said if the city does not impose too many requirements the company might locate here, adding it's a step-by-step process.

"It really truly is not certain," she said this morning of an El Centro store.

Hively said until the company actually purchases land or signs a lease, the decision to build a store here is "way off."

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"We're looking at quite a few locations in California," Hively said. "Until there is a lease or purchase, Walgreens isn't really involved."

Who is involved, however, is Glendale-based Evergreen Development Co., which is acting on Walgreens' behalf in finding new locations.

"We're going to buy the land," said an Evergreen spokesman who requested his name not be used.

That land is located at 100 N. Imperial Ave. — the Four Seasons Buffet & Grill, whose owner could not be reached for comment.

The Evergreen spokesman said construction will likely start toward the end of the year, with the store opening next year. The investment will be "several millions" of dollars, adding that besides a pharmacy, the store will carry pre-packaged food, soda, magazines, cosmetics and offer photo processing.

The Evergreen spokesman said the Imperial Avenue and Main Street location was chosen because the demographics are good.

Walgreens' Hively said the drug store chain likes to locate along busy commuter thoroughfares at prominent intersections and likes to have its own parking lots. She said shopping centers do not work well for Walgreens because of the potential for cramped parking.

Meanwhile, the city Planning Commission has set a public hearing on the issue next week. The commission meeting agenda lists the item as a public hearing to determine the advisability of granting a conditional-use permit to allow the development of a single story, 14,480 square-foot Walgreens Drug Store on property located at 100 N. Imperial Ave.

The Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. May 1 in the City Council chambers, 1275 Main St.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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