Walgreens Co., the nation’s largest drugstore chain with sales of more than $37 billion annually, is making plans to build a stand-alone drugstore on Longboat Key.
The Deerfield, Ill.,-based company submitted a preliminary Outline Development Plan to the Avenue of the Flowers planned unit development Sept. 29, for a 10,000-square-foot location at 500 Bay Isles Road, next to Bank of America.
Walgreens has a contract in place with Bank of America to purchase 1.49 acres of Bank of America’s overflow parking lot just west of the bank near Gulf of Mexico Drive.
If the town’s Planning, Zoning and Building Department approves the amendment and future site plan, Walgreens plans to build one of its drugstore/retail locations, complete with a drive-thru facility for pharmacy service.
The plans submitted to the planning department reveal that Walgreens will not alter the driveway access that currently exists at Bank of America. Future drugstore patrons would have access to the drugstore via Bay Isles Road and Avenue of the Flowers.
If approved, Walgreens has plans to complete construction of the drugstore in 2012.
Planning, Zoning and Building Director Monica Simpson said the town has only held a pre-application conference with the agents from both Bank of America and Walgreens.
“The application is still in the pre-planning stages,” Simpson said.
Notes from a pre-application meeting held Thursday, Oct. 15 reveal that the applicant must make several revisions to the Walgreens application.
Town staff is also urging the applicant to consider an alternative driveway into the Publix parking lot “because the parking lot layout is going to create a great increase in traffic turns on both Bay Isles Road and into the Publix parking lot.”
Neither Walgreens nor Bank of America officials returned phone calls seeking comment for this story.
According to Walgreens’ Web site, the drugstore company selects locations for new stores by taking into account major intersections, traffic patterns, demographics and locations near hospitals.
If the site plan is eventually approved, Walgreens will become the third drugstore on Longboat Key. CVS Pharmacy exists a short walk away from the Walgreens’ potential future site in Avenue of the Flowers. The Medicine Shoppe is located mid-Key in The Centre Shops. The Walgreens store, however, would be the first stand-alone location and the only drive-thru pharmacy on the island.
Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key Chamber of Commerce President Tom Aposporos was pleased to hear that a national drugstore chain is showing interest in a Longboat Key location.
“It’s very encouraging that Walgreens is looking seriously at bringing a location to the island and the need has been recognized,” Aposporos said.
WALGREENS’ GROWTH PLANS
Deerfield, Ill.,-based Walgreens Co., founded in 1901, has 6,069 drugstores throughout the United States and employs more than 237,000 people.
The average size for a typical Walgreens location is 14,500 square feet. Walgreens has plans to open 495 new stores in fiscal year 2009 and opened a total of 629 new stores in fiscal year 2008, including 32 acquisitions.
Walgreens’ goal, according to its Web site, is to have more than 7,000 stores nationwide in 2010.