DOWNEY - The Downey Planning Commission on May 5 approved a plan submitted by Reuben Garbett of Evergreen Devco, Inc. to develop a 12,258 sq. ft. Walgreens drug store on property located at 8030 Imperial Highway, next to a recently remodeled KFC restaurant to the west.The proposed structure is valued at $1.5 million, geared to bring in revenue similar to or even surpass the Walgreens store sales average of $776 per sq. ft., and generate 20-25 permanent jobs. During its envisioned construction phase, assuming (and anticipating) issuance of the necessary building permit, the project is expected to employ more than 200 workers at various times and various durations. If all requirements and caveats are met, construction will begin in January 2011. The initial understanding is that the drugstore will operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and that it will have a drive-thru lane, but the developer wants operations to be extended to 11 p.m. (This will be reviewed further). Permitted hours of operation of truck loading/unloading will be from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday thru Friday. The drug store's design features (including its architecture and landscaping), building materials (hip roof design, stucco, and store accents), and other site components (parking areas, signs, other visual aspects), as well as its functional components (studies of automobile and pedestrian traffic patterns) have won commission approval. The approved site plan conforms with the California Building and Fire Codes, and includes the incorporation of graffiti-resistant features and materials. Its conformity with the city's General Plan (Vision 2025), especially as it meets in full measure one of the city's primary economic goals, namely, "to attract…businesses," was also duly highlighted. As valuation is above the $500,000 minimum requirement, the project will be subject to its Public Arts Program requirement that developer shall "either install public art on their property or pay a cash payment equal to the public arts fee in accordance with the city's Manual for Arts in Public Places." The Planning Commission also agreed with the planning staff's assessment that the project will improve property values in the vicinity. In public comment, concerns were raised by a handful of neighboring residents as to potential noise and traffic density levels directly related to proposed big truck deliveries and late night drive-thru operations, and such, but such concerns were dispelled by staff and, in any case, both it and developer stated that they were ready to review/resolve same to all parties' satisfaction.
********** Published: May 21, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 5