Drugstore slated for redeveloped Star property

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A drugstore, likely a CVS or Walgreens, is expected to anchor the ground-level retail space that will be part of the mixed-use redevelopment planned for the downtown Indianapolis Star headquarters property.

The first details of the retail portion of the project emerged in city filings showing developer TWG Development LLC, formerly The Whitsett Group, asking for a variance to allow for a drugstore drive-through, which is not permitted downtown.

A city zoning board had been slated to hear the request Tuesday, but it was continued until Oct. 8 to give the Department of Metropolitan Development more time to review revised plans.

If CVS were to sign a lease with TWG, the pharmacy’s store at 105 E. Ohio St., about a block from the Star building, would close, brokers say. CVS also has a downtown store at 175 N. Illinois St. Neither location has a drive-through.

Walgreens' nearest store to downtown is at 16th and North Meridian streets, where it competes with a CVS. Brokers say Walgreens is scouting for space downtown.

“I think either one, whether CVS or Walgreens, would make sense,” said Gary Perel of Newmark Knight Frank Halakar. “I know Walgreens wants to come into the [downtown] market.”

Another retail broker, Steve Delaney of Sitehawk Retail Real Estate, said both companies have shown interest in about 20,000 square feet of space he’s listing at 101 W. Ohio St.

“CVS and Walgreens both looked at our space,” he said, “so I know they’re looking downtown.”

TWG principal Joe Whitsett could not be reached for comment Monday morning.

A boom in apartment construction and a surge in downtown’s population are making the urban core more attractive to the pharmacies.

TWG’s plans for the Star property call for up to 500 apartments in three buildings. Two of those buildings already exist and the other is to be constructed near the parking garage at the corner of Delaware and New York streets. The building will include 135 apartment units and about 20,000 square feet of retail space, with construction starting by Nov. 1.

A typical free-standing CVS or Walgreens measures about 15,000 square feet, which would take most of the available retail space. But Perel said drugstores in urban settings can be as small as 10,000 square feet.
“You need a nice, compact store downtown,” he said.

TWG in May finalized its purchase of the 190,000-square-foot Star property at 307 N. Pennsylvania St. and its 500-space parking garage with the Star’s parent company, Virginia-based Gannett Co.

The developer tapped into the newspaper’s history by naming the mixed-use project Pulliam Square. Eugene C. Pulliam bought the newspaper in 1944, and the Pulliam family led it for more than 50 years before shareholders sold it to Gannett in 2000.

The Star building actually is four buildings made to look like one with the addition of a brick façade, which TWG does not plan to keep. Part of the southern portion of the building is the only piece slated for demolition.

Meanwhile, Star Publisher Karen Crotchfelt announced in July that the newspaper was negotiating to take a portion of the space in Circle Centre mall vacated by Nordstrom. The high-end department store chain closed the 210,000-square-foot downtown store in July 2011 after 16 years at the location.

Crotchfelt said Monday morning via email that she has no update to report regarding the negotiations.

The Star's operations would not be affected by the first phase of the Pulliam Square project.



  • To Greg
    16th and Meridian is not Downtown! Anyone who says that is insane. I know that the city says Downtown goes up to 16th Street, so they're insane too. We do need department stores, but this location wouldn't be the right size for one anyway. As far as specialty grocers, one is going to be in the MSA development a few blocks away.
  • RE: Wesley Do You People Live Here
    Wesley, there is a 24 hour CVS and Walgreens at 16th and Meridian and for those saying that downtown needs a drive-thru, these locations have those as well. As a downtown resident, we need speciality grocery stores and department stores, so we do not have to retreat to the outer limits of town to do day-to-day shopping.
    • Target-Market Square Area
      Citygirl, when I mentioned Target in my post I was thinking of an urban style Target that would be on the ground floor development of a large mixed use project. The reason I think this is the best location is because it would be centered in the middle of many of the new developments (Artisty, Pulliam, Circa, developments along Mass Ave, and CityWay to the south). This area is only a couple of blocks from Monu Circle so I'm not sure why you are acting like this is some far off location?? Urban retailers love to be in the middle of their residential customers. I have been to the Target you are talking about in downtown Minneapolis and while it is great I do know it costs more for Target to operate that location because it is split between levels. That location is also right next to their HQ so it gets some perks other urban locations might not. The only other place I see in Indy that you could put a Target would be Circle Center and that has it's own challenges. Market Square is an area rapidly adding residential (Artisty is already planning Phase 2) and contains a wide open space that would allow Target to layout the space they need as part of a larger overall mixed used project (think ground floor retail with 30+ stories of residential above). There is nothing surburn about the project I hope we one day see on this site. The next time you are in the Artsgarden downtown take a look down Washington street and see how you can easily see Artisty now. This location would be even a block closer so I doubt convention/hotel guests would mind walking a couple of blocks and it would create foot traffic on Washington if this all comes together. That could create additional opportunities for other ground floor retailers which is how you build out an urban core.
    • No Good Ideas here
      First, no, no, no to a drive-thru. This is the city, an URBAN area. It should not be designed for the convenience of cars. Second, if CVS is going to close a downtown location, it should be the one on Illinois. It is so small and cramped, carries a limited range of items and as mentioned has ridiculous store hours. Third, while a Target downtown would be an amazing addition, it needs to be in the heart of downtown not relegated to a offshoot development like the Market Square site. That is why the Target in downtown Minneapolis is successful, it's located on Nicollet Mall in the heart of downtown. There's no parking, it's multi-level and it serves not only downtown residents but also office workers and hotel guests. The last time I visited Mpls, I went there twice in a three day time span using the skyway system, it was incredibly convenient. Being part of a development like the one at Market Square will only encourage the suburbanizing of our downtown urban space.
    • Hmm
      Maria, have you ever posted a comment on here that was not negative? It's pretty clear you hate this city. I think the Indystar blogs would be more to your liking.
    • Do you people live here?
      What is with all of the people saying that Downtown doesn't need a CVS or Walgreens? I would prefer to see one open up on the ground floor of the Nordstrom space since it would serve a different market than the current CVS's, but Downtown needs a real drugstore. The two CVS's that we currently have are a joke. They aren't open later than 7:30 during the week and have even less hours on the weekends. I'd be thrilled if this were a 24 hour location. With that said, if the only way this is going to happen is with a drive-thru, then I would rather see the space sit empty until something better comes along.
      • Bigger Picture
        I think this could be a positive for downtown if you look at it as part of the bigger picture. Yes, CVS/Walgreens currently have downtown locations but they are not exactly prime locations. This location is not the correct spot for a Target or Whole Foods. I think you will see a Whole Foods (or like store) as ground floor retail at the new F&C Market Square Apt tower. The city block directly to the south would be a great location for a Target with frontage on Washington street and high density/high end apts built above. In support of this core retail buildup, you will see surrounding locations modernize with smaller anchor tenants. This Pulliam project can use this drug store as an anchor for their site and then bring in additional smaller tenants in the next two phases if demand is there. There is an alley that runs through this site which my guess is that is where the drive up window will be. It will be out of site of the main streets and if it helps drive additional retail on this site then I think it should at least be considered. Remember if there is demand for retail, developers will put it into their site plans as they want to build what will create the best projects and make them the most profitable. It just takes time to get all of the pieces of the puzzle into place and this is one more piece as we build out the downtown.
      • Dive-Thru?
      • Drive through???
        If the people who work downtown want to get their pharmaceuticals from a drive through, then they can do that in the suburbs. Wasting space on cars in downtown for that type of use is not appropriate and that is why they are not allowed by the design guidelines. If CVS is allowed a drive through, then Walgreen will want one, the banks, and every fast food restaurant downtown. Having a lively urban neighborhood needs to finally be more of a focus downtown than facilitating the use of automobiles.
      • More pharmacies?
        Downtown needs more stores to have it easier, cheaper, and more convenient to residents who live down here; however pharmacies is not even close to those needed. The downtown is in sore need of more grocery stores - chain, novelty and ethnic. Service stations are few and far between; parking has also become a major hassle, and anytime there is a special event, we lose our residential street spaces. There are no organic/natural food stores or restaurants. Ironically, there are plenty of pharmacies, including one in Marsh, two CVS's, and one Walgreen's and one of Walgreen's specialty pharmacy- Community Pharmacy located on Massachusetts Ave., which is an excellent pharmacy, with very knowledgeable staff. The way it is now, if the city would begin working on the commuter train line, it could serve to take those of us out to the suburbs to shop and ride the train back into the downtown area. The condos already built, and those being constructed, are not selling. This city is moving; unfortunately, it is lacking the leadership to move in the right direction.
      • Drugstore...
        Every time Walgreens opens another store they leave an ugly vacant spot that isn't rented.
      • Bummer
        Kind of disappointing. I was hoping for some retail and restaurants in the retail section of this development that would trickle up Pennsylvania and connect downtown proper to Mass Ave. and further north.
      • NO!!!!!!!
        Please god no!!!!!!!!Don't we have enough of these downtown! We need a target or whole foods downtown please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • WTF
        Before long we'll need to move our downtown to a more urban location.
      • CVS
        I am okay with this, though my assumption would be if it were a CVS it would mean the closing of the one on Ohio St. If it is Walgreens, I hope it is a full featured one with the expanded food, and either option should be open 24 hours.
        • drive-through???
          I would be absolutely disgusted if the city allows a drive-through in this location. This is downtown Indianapolis, not some far-flung suburban location!

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