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Sleiman looking at Springfield to build Walgreen

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Springfield has truly taken another step forward now that a national chain is looking to locate there. That will invite attention from others. A grocery store is the next big step in retail revitalization. That day is undoubtly closer now. I feel optimistic that the design and location can be made acceptable for the neighborhood.

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That is good news. I hope they move the site to Main, where most of the businesses are. And I hope it has an urban design, so the building is on the street, not surrounded by parking. All they need now is a cool urban Publix, like Riverside.

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The Winn Dixie was "renovated" a couple years back but it only spent about $25k, so that is basically a paint job and the like. About 4 years ago, they wanted to relocate that store to LaVilla, but that was scuttled. Given their financial situation, I would not expect to see any changes at that store anythime soon.

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Springfield group says Walgreens in historic area a bad idea


The Times-Union

Developer Toney Sleiman is considering using two acres of historic Klutho Park for the site of a Springfield Walgreens store, but a neighborhood organization is asking him to look elsewhere.

Louise DeSpain, president of the Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council Inc., said the neighborhood needs a pharmacy store like Walgreens, but not in the part of Klutho Park that's also known as Gateway Park.

"The people in Springfield don't want park space used for a drugstore," she said. "The neighborhood feels it would be much better to put Walgreens on one of the commercial corridors."

John Kiddy, Sleiman's vice president for development, said the park is just one of several locations being considered for a Walgreens, and plans are still in the preliminary discussion stage.

"We haven't dug our heels in on anything," Kiddy said. "We're just exploring our options."

The Walgreens would be 15,120 square feet and include 60 parking spaces at the corner of Eighth Street and Boulevard, according to SPAR.

The city allows public park space to be developed, but Sleiman would have to replace it with an equally sized space, DeSpain said.

Councilwoman Pat Lockett-Felder and Springfield residents would need to approve the project for it to go forward, SPAR said. Lockett-Felder was traveling Wednesday and couldn't be reached for comment.

Department of Parks, Recreation and Entertainment spokeswoman Pamela Wilson didn't immediately have any information on the matter Wednesday.

SPAR board member Rita Reagan said two drugstores already operate in Springfield, but neither carries the variety of products available at a Walgreens.

DeSpain agreed.

"There really is not a place here in the neighborhood to buy quickly what you could buy at a Walgreens," she said.

DeSpain said the store's design would need to fit into the neighborhood's historic architecture.

Regarding the Klutho Park issue, DeSpain said, "Is it possible? Yes. Is it probable? No."

The Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, the second-largest pharmacy chain in the United States, said it operates 41 stores in the Jacksonville area.


About Klutho Park

Klutho Park was called Springfield Park in 1898 when the Springfield Development Co. deeded 40 acres along Hogans Creek from Laura Street to 10th Street, according to the book, Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage. It was later named in honor of the city's famed architect Henry John Klutho.

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