Dec 062011
 

The most recent rendering of plans for the redevelopment of the old American Legion hall on Magazine Street into a new Walgreens store.

Renovations began Monday that will convert the former American Legion hall on Magazine Street into a new Walgreens pharmacy, after the developer of the project finalized its purchase of the building late last month.

Stirling Properties now plans to transform the building’s solid brick facade into a more traditional New Orleans storefront of glass and columns, but the work will take months, Stirling vice president Peter Aamodt told the Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association at a meeting Tuesday night. The company hopes to finish construction in July and open the Walgreens later that month or in August, he said.

Although Walgreens plans to move its Tchoupitoulas location to its new Magazine Street store, the company will have options on its lease for the old location for the next 15 years, Aamodt said. Whether Walgreens will attempt to find a new tenant for a sublease or return the property to the shopping center’s owner has yet to be determined, Aamodt said, but reassured the neighbors that it would not go unused.

“They would never leave it vacant, because that’s a source of income,” Aamodt said.

A number of other issues that concern the association also remain undecided — such as the configuration of the parking lot lighting, the plan for deliveries, and the specific local items to be stocked on the shelves — but Walgreens has committed to making the neighbors’ ideas on those topics part of its own planning process, Aamodt said. A drive-through window that some neighbors is non-negotiable, Aamodt said, but he noted that the development has already undergone major changes based on discussions with surrounding neighbors.

“It’s a totally different project now than it was at the start, so we want to thank you for that,” Aamodt said.

The Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association also covered a number of other topics Tuesday at its December meeting, including an occasionally contentious debate about revisions to the organization’s bylaws, and requesting the city tighten zoning restrictions at the DePaul campus and another nearby site. To read our live coverage of the meeting, click “Replay” in the box below.

  • Travis

    Glad this building will see commerce again. These and the original plans were attractive, especially considering it will be next to that tacky puprle building next door with a parking lot in front.

    Where is the outrage over that business destroying the streetscape and ambiance?

  • Roog

    Because what NOLA needs is another Walgreens to add the its abundant collection.

  • owen joyner

    The Drive-Thru Window – How absurd – Walgreens wants to move its store from its present suburban-style strip mall location to little old Magazine St which came into existence before cars were even invented. Why? So they can process more cars. This is insulting and Sterling Properties should be ashamed for facilitating this. The City ought to put an immediate moratorium on drive thrus on historic (i.e. pre-auto) streets.

  • bigboy

    They should put a Gordon’s in the spot they leave on Tchoupitoulas!

  • Brian

    This location will also have a health clinic, like all the new Walgreens (and now older ones) and I am pretty sure this area is not zoned for health care facilities. Our councilwomen and neighborhood association were completely silent on the issue.

  • Constance

    No health clinic. Asked and answered at public meetings among the developer and neighborhood associations.

  • scott

    Sad. I went to many shows and parties there growing up. Many an hour wiled away among friends