By FRANK PHILLIPS
It’s probably the least kept secret in Brazil, but tangible progress was made Tuesday night in the Walgreens company plan to build a store on the corner of National Avenue and Lambert Street. It is the company’s fourth selected site in town since 2000, according to an attorney, Brian J. Touhy, of Indianapolis, and Michael House, both representing the developer, Peacock Lambert, LLC. Various reasons were given why the first three sites did not work out, including cost.
The new Walgreens, if allowed to proceed, will take up the space now occupied by the Resource Center (which includes offices for the Chamber of Commerce and United Way) on National Avenue, west to Lambert Street.
The fate of the displaced businesses and offices was not immediately known.
The new Walgreens would face National Avenue and extend south to Jackson Street, in a rectangular property.
Tuohy, of the law firm of Stark, Doninger & Smith, and House attended Tuesday’s city council meeting to answer questions in a public hearing on their request to vacate a portion of the alley between Lambert and Alabama streets, and runs parallel to National Avenue and Jackson Street.
Property owners and businesses on the alley were notified of the public hearing and nearly filled the City Hall meeting room.
When all was said, most of the people, who initially spoke in opposition to the Walgreens plan, agreed it would be OK. The drug store is planned to set in the middle of where the alley exists, but an entrance to the alley on Walgreens’ property would give better access to delivery vehicles than now exists at the alley’s west end on Lambert Street.
Walgreens plans to employ 25 people and invest $4 million in its brick building, that will be similar to other Walgreens in the state.
Tuohy could not answer one question he has been asked repeatedly: Will the store be open 24 hours? That will be determined by business volume, he said.
If final approval for the alley vacation is granted, construction is planned to begin in July and the store should be open by Christmas.
The alley vacation petition was approved 5-0 on first reading only. A second reading will be scheduled for the May 9 meeting at 7 p.m. in City Hall.