Walgreens may locate on Broad Street

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   After a "curb cut" issue thwarted its development on West Elk Avenue earlier this year, a Walgreens drug store could be coming to Broad Street.
   David Ornduff, Elizabethton director of planning and development, confirmed Monday that his office received a proposal requesting the rezoning of property on Broad Street by a private developer to establish the drug store.
   "A portion of the property is still residential," Ornduff said. The request also sought closure of an alley lying between Lynn Avenue and Cottage Avenue. The Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission is expected to have the request on the agenda for their meeting in January. Ornduff said that Napa Auto Parts located near the property would be relocated to accommodate the development.
   The proposal comes almost one year after Walgreens sought to establish a store on West Elk Avenue. A Knoxville-based property development firm submitted a site plan to build a 14,800 square-feet Walgreens store on a 2.1-acre portion of the North American Corp. property on West Elk Avenue in January. The Planning Commission voted 6-1 in February to approve an alternative site plan, disapproving a proposed curb cut on West Elk Avenue to access the proposed Walgreens site. The decision effectively scuttled the drug store's development on West Elk Avenue.
   A long-time commercial strip in town, Broad Street's business makeup is beginning to branch into peripheral streets where residential row houses stood alone. Planners voted in May to rezone a proposed 150' x 115' tract located immediately behind Citizens Bank's Broad Street location from residential to commercial use.
   The commission voted 4-3 to rezone property at 215 East C St. from R-2 residential to B-1 business for Happy Valley Credit Union in May. State planning officials advised the commission rezone six properties on West C Street to accommodate future commercial growth.
   Founded in 1901, Walgreens operates more than 4,200 drug stores nationwide, including 159 in Tennessee. For the 2003 fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, the company's sales reached $32 billion and earnings exceeded $1.1 billion. The company opened 430 new stores during the 2003 fiscal year and plans to open an additional 450 stores in fiscal year 2004, according to the company's Web site.