Historic Ann Arbor will soon see the much anticipated – and much debated – opening of a major chain pharmacy in the heart of its downtown. In the midst of both excitement and disagreement with the placement of the nationally owned store, CVS prepares to open its doors.

Construction began this summer on a new CVS pharmacy — to be located on the 200 block of South State Street next to Buffalo Wild Wings. The new location is slated to open early next year, according to Mike DeAngelis, director of public relations at CVS.

DeAngelis said the pharmacy will be “full service” with a special emphasis towards catering to students’ needs.

Currently, the closest CVS to campus is located by Michigan Stadium on South Industrial Highway.

According to an Ann Arbor Planning and Development Services Staff Report, the new CVS will be located in the city’s historic district, and the building itself dates back to 1899.

CVS got permission from the Historic District Commission in June 2009 to demolish the existing building except for the front wall and construct a new building behind that original façade. Photos of the site show that the façade dates back to the 1930s. The building used to be a two-story single-family home and carriage house that, with several additions over the years, became a boarding house.

DeAngelis said CVS bought the property in April 2010 because of its convenient location near campus and the number of students who walk by the area. The new pharmacy is being built next to Corner House Apartments, home to many University students.

The construction has caused some problems for nearby businesses. Employees at Mr. Greeks Coney Island say the restaurant has lost business because of it.

“It’s hard for people to park out front (because of the construction),” said Mr. Greeks worker Nazik Anton. “We can feel vibrations (from the construction) in the store.”

And while construction may cause headaches for students and business owners in the area, CVS officials are hoping students and residents embrace the store once it opens.

Art & Design sophomore Jessica Fass said she plans to stay with her current pharmacy — The Village Apothecary on South University Avenue – because of the personal touch they provide.

“I like the people (at The Village Apothecary),” Fass said. “I’m close with them, and they rarely make mistakes with my prescriptions.”

Despite the threat the new CVS may pose to other local businesses and pharmacies, David Palan, who works at The Village Apothecary, believes that the national brand can’t match the local feel.

“We’re a personal home-town pharmacy,” Palan said.

But LSA freshman Michael Pereira said he thinks CVS will get a lot of business, adding that he’s excited for the store to open.

“It’s an all-purpose store,” Pereira said. “I’ve been looking for a place like that.”

Kinesiology freshman Chloe Kipnis echoed Pereira’s sentiments, saying that she can’t wait for CVS to open because she’s had issues finding the products she needs at a pharmacy in Ann Arbor.

“(CVS) has everything a college student needs and it has more than just the little mom and pop stores around campus … things are a little pricier there,” Kipnis said. “With CVS, everything’s going to be affordable and you can get a lot.”

Nursing freshman Lizzie Levine said she’s also looking forward to the convenience of having a commercial pharmacy nearby.

“I’m really excited because I can fill my prescriptions without having to look further for a pharmacy,” Levine said. “If I get sick, they are right there for whatever I need.”

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