Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Panel blocks Walgreens expansion plan in Castro

The city’s Planning Commission voted last night to unanimously reject Walgreens’ proposal to expand its pharmacy on 18th Street in the heart of the Castro.

The company had wanted to take over the adjacent vacant storefront to create a bigger and more inviting space for its pharmacy clients and staff. But the plan faced opposition from the get go from residents of the gay neighborhood and some business leaders upset with Walgreens’ already vast holdings in the Castro.

The national chain had been trying, in vain, to win approval of its expansion plans since the spring of 2007. It failed to win support from two neighborhood groups but did convince the local merchant group to back the project.

Stung by critics it was stingy with its local giving, Walgreens agreed to pay for upgrading a meeting space in the Castro overseen by a board member and former president of the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro

And with the downturn in the economy, District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty had told MUMC members at their morning meeting Thursday, February 5 prior to the panel’s vote that afternoon that he would prefer seeing the expansion move forward rather than have another dark storefront.

But the commission went with its planning staff recommendation that it reject Walgreens’ application.

Some Castro officials had suspected the company sought the vote knowing the plan will not pass so it can now back out of its lease for the space.

It could appeal the planning commission’s decision to the Board of Supervisors. But it would likely fail, as the board has not been very friendly, of late, to chain stores.

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 6, 2009 @ 2:56 pm PST
Filed under: News,Uncategorized

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