Walgreens coming to Uintah Gardens, maybe West Colorado
Two new Walgreens drug stores may be coming to the Westside.
The sites are the Uintah Gardens shopping center (a freestanding store where Furr's Cafeteria used to be) at 19th and Uintah streets and the north side of the 3000 block of Colorado Avenue.
Carol Hively, a Walgreens spokesperson in Illinois, confirmed in a phone interview this week that Uintah Gardens is on the company's list for a freestanding store with a drive-thru, replacing the existing store at the shopping center. No target opening date has been set. “It's in the really early stages there,” she said. “There's nothing definite yet, no signed lease, so there will be nothing till well into next year.”
Regarding Colorado Avenue, Hively said she had no information. However, the Westside Pioneer has learned that property owners in the 3000 block (west of the 7-Eleven and down to 31st Street) are being approached by representatives of Semper Construction, which specializes in building Walgreens stores. The initial Semper offer letters did not say the ultimate goal was to build a Walgreens, but this desire was confirmed in a later face-to-face meeting between Semper and one owner, according to a reliable local source, who asked not to be named.
Phone calls to Semper had not been returned at press time.
Although the Colorado Avenue location is only about 1 ½ miles from Uintah Gardens, Hively said it would not be out of the question for Walgreens to put stores so close together as long as they were on “different commuter routes.”
The Walgreens strategy, she explained, is to put stores on the right-hand side of roads people use when driving home from work. This makes for a convenient turn into the store, where trends indicate that more and more customers use drive-thrus to pick up prescriptions they've ordered by phone during the day.
Also, Hively said, Walgreens likes to locate stores in areas with aging populations because they're more likely to need prescription drugs.
Asked about the potential impact on the residential neighborhood just north of the commercial area along the 3000 block of Colorado Avenue, Hively said that Semper generally handles the city-approval process, but Walgreens would try to be sensitive to any local concerns.
Modern Walgreens stores vary only slightly in size. They range from 14,000 to 15,000 square feet, Hively said.
The existing Walgreens at Uintah Gardens is 12,000 square feet and has no drive-thru. It was built in 1974. “This is exactly the kind of store we're relocating nationwide,” she said.
Walgreens went to court against King Soopers to win legal sanction for a freestanding store at Uintah Gardens. The lawsuit in El Paso County District Court was settled out of court last summer.
On the average, Hively said Walgreens is expanding nationally at the rate of a new store every 20 hours. In Colorado, a new Walgreens has been opening about every month.
Westside Pioneer article