CVS Development Challenges Assumptions

Completed 1998

The site plan for downtown’s CVS and surrounding retail center, when initially presented, reflected auto-focused design features more commonly associated with suburban development practice — and certainly not in character with the ambitions of the Town Center Plan. Accordingly, it revealed a weakness in the city’s redevelopment plans: The physical characteristics we envisioned for new construction existed only as guidelines, not legally-binding development regulations. If a developer chose to ignore them, that was their prerogative.

Not for long.

In the short term, the city engaged CVS at the corporate level, explaining our vision and working to secure support for a more pedestrian-friendly approach. The company agreed and helped convince the property developer to pull the building up to the corner, remove the surrounding band of parking common to most CVS locations, and maintain multiple entries. We were also successful in getting additional retail spaces along West Ponce re-oriented to face the street.

In the longer term, we revised city zoning standards in 1999 to ensure they don’t just suggest but mandate the outcomes envisioned by the community. These standards have been further adjusted in the years since as new situations arise.

CVS now occupies the former parking lot of the Southern Star restaurant, while the rest of the development replaced a largely vacant car dealership.

CVS now occupies the former parking lot of the Southern Star restaurant, while the rest of the development replaced a largely vacant car dealership.