Students looking to pick up prescriptions or buy toothpaste will finally have an alternative to Village Apothecary in the form of a 14,000-square-foot CVS/pharmacy.

Last night, Ann Arbor City Council unanimously approved a plan to construct a new CVS/pharmacy near the intersection of State Street and Liberty Street. The location, 209 S. State St., was previously occupied by Sava’s State Street Café and a tattoo parlor.

Yesterday’s resolution came after approval from the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission and the City Planning Commission in May.

The project, estimated to cost $8 million, will preserve the current building’s front facade, a June 21 Daily article reported.

Councilmember Sandi Smith (D–Ward 1) cited the façade’s preservation as one of the reasons she backed the building proposal.

“I appreciate work to restore the façade of the structure,” Smith told the council last night.

Councilmember Tony Derezinski (D–Ward 2) added that the construction team plans to build from the top down to leave the façade intact. Derezinski said the Planning Commission was also pleased with the construction team’s willingness to keep the building’s façade.

Both Derezinski and Smith emphasized that no large pharmacy currently exists for downtown residents and CVS will fill that void.

Smith said though she would prefer a local business to a large chain like CVS, the store’s size will better accommodate the downtown community.

“There’s a lot of new residents coming into the area and this really fills a piece that’s much needed,” Smith said. “I’d like to say this is going to be an independent local store, but we don’t see those in existence anymore.”

Construction will take about six months to complete, John Baumann, director of the construction team representing CVS, told the Daily on this summer. Now that the proposal has passed, construction could begin as early as next year.

Thomas Partridge, a self-described “Washtenaw County Democrat,” spoke to the council during the meeting’s public hearings.

Partridge discussed the importance of public transportation for many area residents, and asked the council to require CVS to provide public transportation for potential customers, especially those with disabilities or other disadvantages.

“People with lower incomes spend an inordinate amount of income on general merchandise in CVS stores,” Partridge said. “It’s only fair to require the necessary funding, development and attention to this vital issue.”

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