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Walgreens seeks city OK, site work is set for spring

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

'Storm Lake location perfect' for new store

The Storm Lake City Council dispensed some welcome medicine Monday to the nation's largest pharmacy company, rapidly agreeing to sell city property and right-of-way needed for Walgreens to have a new store constructed downtown in 2007.

Village Development out of Lincoln, Nebraska is in charge on the construction of the Walgreens Store on the 800 block of Lake Avenue. The store and parking lot will go between Michigan Street, Lake Avenue, West Milwaukee and West Seventh Street, with parking slots surrounding it.

The council approved all three readings in the same meeting for the ordinance change necessary to vacate the property and to sell the requested property to help with Walgreens construction.

Part of the purchase of Right of Way proposed will also include the current city alleyway.

Along with with purchased alley, the parking areas on Michigan Street, West Milwaukee and West Seventh Street will also be purchased for $52,931 by Village Development.

There will be a slight adjustment on the price after a check of the property lines is finalized. The sale should be finalized at the council meeting on February 19.

Tam Allan, coordinator for Walgreens Construction in the area and his project coordinator Jon Thomas attended the meeting.

According to Allan, the Storm Lake store will not be a 24 hour site like other locations. It will employ 30 people with half being full-time.

"These will be good jobs and they will be well paid jobs," Allan said. Two full-time pharmacists are expected to be hired.

"I have and will always say that people should recommend to their children or grandchildren should consider becoming a pharmacist.," Allan said. "Walgreens needs to hire two out of three new students that graduate from pharmacological school."

According to Thomas, demolition of existing buildings which have already been purchased in the block should begin early in March and should take 30-45 days.

"The biggest thing that could slow it down is making sure the asbestos is out of the way," he said in a Pilot-Tribune interview.

"Walgreens looks forward to becoming a good neighbor in the community," Allan said.

The store should be open by the fall of this year.

Council member Denny Vaudt said that Walgreens coming to the area was not a big secret and that local officials are glad to have the development in the downtown area.

"I can't speak for the whole council but it is a very exciting to have them come to town," Vaudt said. "It's economic growth."

Council Member Julie Egland noted that sales tax alone will bring the city about $8 million.

Allan said that that he and Walgreens are thrilled with the location. The company had admittedly been seeking a high-traffic site in Storm Lake for some time before the deal was closed.

"Most national chains will look to build on the edge of town, Walgreens likes to be at a geographic and population center of an area for better access for their customers," Allan said. "Our location is just perfect for those needs."



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