Written by Rich Forestano Saturday, 26 April 2014 00:00
Walgreens is looking to relocate its current digs south of Jericho Turnpike. But you won’t have to look very far.
The convenience store/pharmacy giant plans to move into 12 E. Jericho Tpke., former home of the Entenmann’s Bakery Outlet. The current store is set up southwest of the proposed location on Jericho Turnpike and Roslyn Road. A CVS pharmacy currently resides a stone’s throw from the new spot.
“I don’t understand why they would move,” said Walgreens customer Dotty Billinger. “They are going to be too close to each other.”
The proposed 14,518 square foot facility would be open 24 hours (like the current one), house a drive-thru,--- and be developed by Marc Steinberg of Mark Development. He has constructed over 150 Walgreens across the country.
“Walgreens has thrived in the area and will continue to thrive,” he said at a public hearing before the Village of Mineola Board of Trustees last week.
The drive-thru would sit on the eastern part of the property. The current Walgreen’s does not have a drive-thru.
“The new building will be considerably nicer,” said Steinberg’s legal rep Jack Libert. “It will unquestionably improve the new site.”
Architect Anthony Sirizzotti of the Bannet Group said he wanted to incorporate a “residential feel” to the building, rather than a commercial aesthetic.
“We wanted to take into account that there are homes behind the building,” he said. “What we did was break the building up into a few pieces and built a staggered ceiling, with the tallest at the front entrance. We reduced the overall scale of the building while maintaining a sizable parking lot.”
The parking lot would house 71 parking spots and three handicapped spaces, according to Craig Tompkins of Bohler Engineering. Road openings north of the site on Arlington St. will be enclosed with a fence.
Previously, cars could access the street. Two driveways would be built along Jericho Turnpike, with an exit point on Roslyn Road.
“We talked about a fence along Arlington,” said Tompkins. “We thought it would give people a sense of separation. No cars would be coming off the Walgreens lot on to Arlington.”
Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira was concerned that issues plaguing the current store will transfer to the new store. Walgreens has been cited for numerous code violations for unkempt shrubbery.
“The site plan is beautiful,” he said. “Walgreens has had issues over the years; violations have been issued because landscaping was not kept up.”
Currently, Walgreens is only required to hire a landscaper for 90 days after opening per state law. Steinberg said it’s on him to keep it up.
“I need to make sure the landscaping takes,” he said. “They are conscious of landscaping. We put a lot of time in designing this plan.”
Mineola resident Frank Hoare was worried about unruly drivers. While left turns would be prohibited onto Roslyn Road and Jericho from the property, he opined that drivers will make a right on to Arlington Street and head to Columbus Parkway.
“That’s what I would do,” he said. “The people on Arlington will not like that. I’d just go down to Columbus and make the left turn to head eastbound the safe way.”
Pereira discussed left turn issues, but with Jericho Turnpike.
“In the end, if people are going to attempt to go east on Jericho from Walgreens...it’ll be problematic,” he said.
John Harter of Atlantic Traffic and Design estimated that 60 cars per hour passed the site from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays. He found rush hour to be the densest time. On weekends, Harter logged cars from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and found the first two hours to hold the most cars.
“I also tally the volumes at intersections during those hours and I found 4,500 vehicles coming during the midday week’s evening hours and on Saturday, about 3,500,” said Harter.