CVS Pharmacy, which already has stores in Hillcrest, North Park, and downtown (Fifth Avenue and C Street) will remodel an empty building at 1850 Fifth Avenue in Bankers Hill. It then expects to open sometime in 2018.
The project will go before the August 1 meeting of Uptown Community Planning Group. “The hearing on that date is dependent on the first assessment letter for the project from city planning being issued prior to the meeting, so the board can review it,” said Leo Wilson, Uptown Planners chair.
CVS wants a Type 21 Alcoholic Beverage Control license (for beer, wine and spirits sales). I emailed ABC headquarters, to see if they had any information on a license application.
“I contacted our San Diego District Office concerning your e-mail, and they have indicated that there is no pending application for CVS at that address,” said Brett Musselman, supervising agent in charge, trade enforcement unit.
The new CVS would be just up Fifth Avenue from New Palace Hotel (1814 Fifth Avenue), which is undergoing a $21.3 million rehabilitation of that 1910 structure. Upon completion it will house approximately 80 seniors. Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group is a block away at 300 Fir Street. While there is already a pharmacy at the Rees-Stealy clinic, some patients may elect to fill prescriptions at the new CVS. There are many doctors and dentists along the Bankers Hill avenues.
Wilson says he does “not know if having a full liquor license will be controversial. Obviously,” Wilson told me, “it is an issue of concern, and people will want to know more about the hours of operation, the amount of liquor being sold and how it is displayed, the price and types. A major concern may be what conditions are going to be imposed to prevent negative impacts to some of the vulnerable populations in the area that abuse alcohol.”
Off-site sales of beer, wine and spirits is already available at City Liquor House, 1801 5th Avenue (at Elm Street). Adjacent is The SRO Lounge (1807 Fifth Avenue), a local dive bar. David Somo, manager of City Liquor House, said the CVS outlet “is not a good thing for us.” Somo said CVS can easily undercut his prices on liquor and groceries. “The New Palace Hotel residents may shop for groceries with CVS, instead of with us.”
An email sent to CVS corporate offices in Rhode Island was not immediately returned.