According to WCPO, Walgreens is trying to buy the strip that both businesses reside on, and move the store that currently sits about a tenth of a mile down the road into the new location. Unsurprisingly, neither the businesses that would be displaced nor their neighbors are big fans of this plan. This would be a giant loss to that community. I don’t live in the neighborhood, and I never have, but I spent a LOT of time at Everybody’s growing up, and a trip to Everybody’s would just as often as not be followed by lunch or dinner at Gaslight. I don’t feel like it would be a stretch to call Everybody’s Records a Cincinnati institution, and it is inarguably a Pleasant Ridge institution. Apparently Walgreens is willing to trample that, along with the other Mom & Pop businesses along that corner, for marginally improved real-estate in a neighborhood where they already have a strong presence. Even if you ignore the store that currently exists roughly two football fields from the corner, there’s also another Walgreens less than five minutes away in Norwood. In fact, at least as the crow flies, there are no less than five Walgreens within three miles.
To their credit, the businesses and the people that support them have been quick to react. The Facebook page devoted to saving the location crossed 800 “likes” within 12 hours of being created, and is currently climbing steadily. According to that page, City Council will soon be holding a hearing to allow or deny the sale of the buildings in question, so they are asking those concerned to send this letter (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) on to the city:
As a member of the Pleasant Ridge Community, I am writing you concerning a problem that has come about in Pleasant Ridge.
The word is out that Walgreens/Anchor Management is attempting to purchase the Southeast corner of Ridge and Montgomery Roads. Their intent is to tear down existing buildings and locate a new Walgreens there (one block from their existing store)
The first and biggest concern would be increased vehicle traffic. This intersection is used constantly by child pedestrians on the way to and from the three elementary schools within one or two blocks of the intersection. Many children walk this route to and from the local swimming pool and other events at the Pleasant Ridge community center.
Secondly, Pleasant Ridge would lose nine businesses that have over 150 years in business between them in the community. Up to 100 jobs would be lost. I am also concerned about the impact on the remaining businesses (i.e. Mullaney’s Pharmacy, which may be the oldest existing business in Pleasant Ridge).
A third concern would be the existing building abandoned by Walgreens. In College Hill, The Wigwam Restaurant was bought and razed. Many years later, there still sits an empty lot. College Hill lost it’s cornerstone business, and is still trying to recover.
The Pleasant Ridge Community has worked long and hard to have a pedestrian friendly, diversified business district, as outlined in the 2000 Urban Design Study. This would set back the business, as well as the overall community, greatly.
If you’re sympathetic to the cause, either as a fan of Everybody’s or one of the other businesses, or you simply don’t want to see a bunch of Mom & Pop’s forced to move and/or close, I would ask you to write City Council, as well as Walgreens, and express that sentiment. It’s not yet clear when the hearing in question might be, and I don’t yet know how likely it is that Council will be willing or able to stop the sale, but I will update here when I have more info.
UPDATE 6/3: According to the Facebook page, the group’s plan is to attempt to convince City Council to commission a study of the impact that the sale and it’s proposed goals would have, apparently by invoking an Interim Development Control Overlay District (IDC) which “temporarily regulate the establishment of uses, construction of new buildings and demolition or alteration of existing structures in areas where the adoption of amendments to the Cincinnati Zoning Code have been proposed in a comprehensive plan (or) community plan…” (Zoning code 1431-01 if you want to read it). Pleasant Ridge qualifies for that, as council adopted the Pleasant Ridge Urban Design Plan in 2000. Obviously, there’s nothing there that would block a sale in and of itself, but I’d wager that the idea is that Walgreens may not buy it at all if they know the city’s going to fight them on demolition, new construction, and the presence of drive-thrus. I’ll post more as I find it, and a deep hat-tip to Cincinnati Notebook for this one.
UPDATE #2 6/3: The Pleasant Ridge Council has released the following statement (via the effort’s Facebook page):
Our Position on Walgreens
We are sending you this update in response to rumors surrounding a potential Walgreens relocation.
We have confirmed that Walgreens is interested in relocating to the corner of Ridge and Montgomery – SW of Burger King – and is pursuing property for demolition and construction of a new facility. We are all in agreement that this action would be detrimental to our community and the businesses and buildings that are critical to our business district’s character, and is, therefore, unacceptable.
We appreciate the concern that has been strongly expressed by residents and business owners. This update is meant to share with you our efforts to date and our plan of action going forward.
We have already set up a meeting with representatives from Walgreens to discuss their plans and objectives. They have expressed a willingness to work with us to figure out a win-win for Walgreens as well as the community. Walgreens is an anchor business and we wish to support them in their efforts to reinvest in the community. We will work with them to figure out a way to meet their needs without compromising the integrity of our community business district. In addition, we are in the process of reaching out to the current property owners on that corner to understand their needs, as well.
Finally, before Walgreens will be able to move forward with any plan involving demolition and new construction, they will have to seek special zoning and permitting approvals from the City. This process will include public hearings where our community will have the opportunity to influence the outcome.
Although there are still far more questions than answers, rest assured that community leadership is unified and working diligently to find solutions that satisfy all interests without sacrificing the quality, character, and businesses of Pleasant Ridge. We will use our web site, email and social media to keep everyone updated on new developments and we will hold public meetings as necessary.
Again, thank you for your love and dedication to our community. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we will answer them as best we can. We ask that you help us by sharing this update with friends and neighbors so that everyone can keep a healthy conversation growing.
Wendell Robinson, President
Pleasant Ridge Community Council
Jason Chamlee, President
Pleasant Ridge Development Corporation
Maria Kreppel, Board Chair
District A –
where arts+community meet
in Kennedy Heights/Pleasant Ridge
This is likely good news; at the very least, Walgreens is giving the appearance of being willing to talk about it, and frankly, Walgreens backing off of the idea on their own is far and away the best chance these businesses have being able to remain in their current locations. I’ll have more as I come across it.