CVS
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The last of the old Tower Plaza strip center, southeast of Platte Avenue and Circle Drive, was being torn down this week in Colorado Springs. CVS, the Rhode Island-based pharmacy chain, plans to build a retail store on the site.

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CVS is crushing it in Colorado Springs.

The Rhode Island-based pharmacy giant, which opened two brick-and-mortar stores last year in the Springs, has demolished several familiar buildings southeast of Platte Avenue and Circle Drive in preparation for construction of a third retail outlet.

The work at the busy intersection east of downtown began several weeks ago on standalone and multitenant buildings that once housed Short Stop Deluxe Burgers, Midas, Flowerama, Chalito Tires and Bambino’s Italian Eatery, among others. The buildings and businesses made up the Tower Plaza strip center at the site, much of which was built in the late 1970s, El Paso County land records show.

The demolition appeared to be completed this week, although debris and rubble remained on site. CVS spokeswoman Stephanie Cunha said via email the new store is scheduled to open in early November.

She also said that CVS plans to add more stores in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area, although she didn’t specify how many or whether locations have been identified.

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CVS representatives submitted documents to city planners just over 2 1/2 years ago showing a store would be built on the nearly 2.5-acre site. CVS completed a $3.6 million purchase of the property in March 2018.

The most recent documents on file with city planners show the CVS store would be 13,111 square feet, with a drive-thru, parking lot and landscaping, all of which would cover the site that formerly housed the razed buildings.

The store would be similar to those that CVS has opened at Academy Boulevard and North Carefree Circle and at Woodmen Road and Rangewood Drive. CVS also has pharmacies inside three Target stores in the Springs.

CVS has more than 9,800 locations nationwide, and frequently goes head to head with Walgreens and builds its stores near its chief rival. In the Springs, the new CVS at Platte and Circle will be a couple of blocks south of a Walgreens, while the other two CVS stores are directly across the street from Walgreens.

The new CVS at Platte and Circle likely will be a welcome addition to the Platte Avenue corridor, which for decades has been dominated by bars, pawn shops, auto repair businesses, small motels and used car lots.

CVS will be built across from a Dollar Tree store, which opened last year on the northwest corner of Platte and Circle and filled a space that had been vacant for years after housing a Rite Aid pharmacy and a Salvation Army thrift store.

The Platte corridor and surrounding Knob Hill neighborhood also have become home to a series of colorful building murals in recent months by local artists, while the city years ago landscaped and improved medians running along Platte.

“It’s probably a good thing for Platte Avenue,” said Mike Schultz, a city planner who reviewed plans for the new CVS store.

“(It’s been) a long time not seeing a lot of redevelopment occurring along Platte Avenue. And now finally seeing the CVS going in at this corner and the Dollar store...finally going into the old Rite Aid. It’s nice to see some redevelopment activity taking place along Platte Avenue.”

Business writer, Colorado Springs Gazette

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