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.”