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UPDATE: Richfield CVS Store Expected to Open Near New Year's

Construction is underway at the corner of 66th Street and Penn Avenue.

The national CVS Pharmacy Pharmacy chain recently broke ground on construction of a forthcoming store in Richfield at the corner of Penn Avenue and 66th Street. A firm opening date for what will be the company’s only location in the city remains unknown, but according to Richfield Community Development's Karen Barton, CVS previously expressed a plan for construction that would likely see the store open sometime in January 2012.

“Typically it’s their desire to knock this thing out in 120 days from start to finish,” Barton said, though she cautioned that once the company received approval from the City of Richfield to build the store, city officials didn’t have any more input into the construction’s timeline. “All kinds of things can derail that [timeline], but that’s kind of their goal.”

Demolition at the site commenced at the beginning of September 2011, meaning that, should the 120 day goal be met, residents can expect a new store at that corner to open for business just after New Year’s. As , Velmeir Properties was contracted by CVS to construct the new store.

Demolition and construction plans previously approved by the City of Richfield called for knocking down an old retaining wall in the existing structure and moving that wall back when constructing the new storefront. The plans aimed to provide a more accessible space on the corner for pedestrians, a larger part of the city’s revitalization efforts for the Penn Avenue Corridor.

As part of the project construction workers will be removing asbestos before constructing the new space, which will house an approximately 12,900 square foot CVS store. will remain in its current location.

Joan Helmberger, a longtime member of the Richfield Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), was surprised when she learned CVS wanted to open a store at the location.

“The one question that came to my mind when I first heard about it is that there are Walgreens all over the place,” Helmberger said. “But it’s a case of competition. If it’s worth it to CVS and they want to pursue it, I’m sure they will.”

The nearest other CVS store locations are 8936 Lyndale Ave. in Bloomington and 6905 York Ave. in Edina. CVS and a spokesperson for Velmeir Properties declined to comment about the ongoing construction in Richfield.

Part of a Larger Plan in Richfield

As mentioned earlier, the CVS store in Richfield has become part of the city’s revitalization efforts for the Penn Avenue Corridor. Located between Highway 62 and 68th Street, beginning in 2008 the City of Richfield devised a plan whereby property owners along the corridor would be given an economic incentive to make streetscape improvements if their property is at least partially in the public right of way.

The project ultimately hopes to make that area of Penn Avenue more economically vibrant and has already made headway; buildings such as the new restaurant and have implemented some of the plan’s design guidelines through landscaping and the installation of different lighting and bike racks. 

“What we’ll see there is a revitalization and new vitality along the corner [of 66th Street and Penn Avenue] and that whole corridor,” Barton said. “CVS typically draws a lot of customers, so I think that will bring in a lot of folks to the Penn Avenue Corridor and help with revitalization efforts there.”

ann delaney October 10, 2011 at 08:47 PM
I've been neglecting Rod's question as to what would have been a better fit in the CVS location, How about a decent hardware store? I like Menard's but it's inconvenient for me to go there and there are times you need to go for some small items. That would have been a better idea than another drug store.
Brie Shultz October 11, 2011 at 04:23 PM
Who's idea was the new CVS? Was it a Richfield committee or was it the city council? Why does the city council continue to green light developments that are already within a mile radius from the Richfield/Edina/Bloomington border (i.e. Target, Home Depot, CVS)? In the past they have discussed wanting Richfield to be unique and wanting to attract people to come here, but we always end up with the most vanilla results. I went to the new CVS on york to see what we will be getting in the new year and I am unimpressed. It's really no different than Walgreens, as both are more expensive for every day items than say, a Cub or a Target. I remember going to Kinsmore drug as a kid. The difference having a drug store in that area now is, back then, Kinsmore was the only drug store in far west Richfield. In present day within a mile radius, there is a pharmacy at: Lunds, Walgreens, CVS, Cub and Target. Also, in destroying that whole strip mall in favor of 1 building for CVS, the question arises of what happens if CVS fails? Then we're stuck with one big empty building. I liked the variety of the several small stores in the strip mall. Some businesses came and went, but they were always easy to replace and had another tenant step in.
Caitlin Burgess October 11, 2011 at 04:46 PM
I'm not really sure who proposed the development. Neighbors, business owners and the city have wanted to revamp that area for a long time - and I believe it is part of the city's comp. plan. Whether or not CVS was a good idea, only time will tell. Also, at one of the city council meetings regarding CVS, it was said that CVS was interested in having a second location in Richfield in the future. They didn't say where but I would guess it would be somewhere on the east side. What do you think of that?!
Brian Moen October 11, 2011 at 04:56 PM
My mom worked at Kinsmor for nearly 20 years, and it was my first job as well. A lot of great memories in that store, so you can imagine how it felt to drive by the other day and see it gone.
ann delaney October 11, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Should anyone on the city council or whoever decides these things, vote for another CVS in Richfield,they should be taken out of their seats on the council. These kind of ideas do not make any sense. Put someone in who cares about our city and do it right.

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