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    Tarpon Springs attracts new Walgreens

    At the planned southern gateway to the city, the drugstore will be designed to blend in other downtown redevelopment ideas.

    By KATHERINE GAZELLA

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 21, 2000


    TARPON SPRINGS -- City commissioners have approved plans for a free-standing Walgreens store to be built on S Pinellas Avenue in an area foreseen as a southern gateway to downtown.

    The new store will replace a current Walgreens in a strip center near the new store's location. The new drugstore will have a drive-through window for prescription pickup.

    Commissioners voted 4-0, with Commissioner Cindy Domino absent, to approve the plan.

    Commissioners recently approved an ambitious redevelopment plan for downtown and the Sponge Docks. A key part of that plan is creating attractive landscaped "gateways" to let visitors know they're in Tarpon Springs.

    The new Walgreens store, which will be built at the corner of S Pinellas Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, will be at the southern gateway to the city. Because of that, it will be designed differently from most of the chain's stores, said Charlie Attardo, business services specialist for the city.

    City officials had requested changes to the facade so the store would fit in with the downtown proposal, Attardo said. He said RKM Development Inc. cooperated with the requests by adding columns and decorative banding.

    "We certainly want the buildings to fit," he said. "It's a unique design."

    The store will replace an office building and ABC Pizza, Attardo said. The brick office building will be knocked down or moved, he said. The ABC building will be knocked down, but the business will relocate within Tarpon Springs, he said.

    The city also promised to pay up to $15,000 to replace an aging sewer line that will serve Walgreens and the surrounding area. If the sewer project costs more, Walgreens will pay the difference.

    The 14,490-square-foot store is expected to open in the first half of 2001, Attardo said.

    - Staff writer Katherine Gazella can be reached at (727) 445-4182 or gazella@sptimes.com.

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