The Village Apothecary may no longer be the only pharmacy in downtown Ann Arbor in the near future.

A New York-based development company wants to demolish the 209-211 South State street building, which includes Sava’s State Street Café and two other vacancies, and erect a CVS/pharmacy in its place.

The building is located in the State Street historic district, which means any demolition plans must first be approved by the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission before they are issued to the Planning Commission and City Council. The company submitted its first plan to the HDC in late April.

Jill Thatcher, the city’s historic preservation coordinator, said that it’s very unusual for the HDC to approve a plan that entails knocking down an entire building.

“It’s very rare for a demolition request to be approved because there are very specific circumstances the historic commission is allowed to approve under state and city law,” she said.

One example of such a condition would be if the building were a health hazard to the public.

She said the company pulled its original plans earlier last week, instead proposing a new plan that would keep the existing front façade of the original building but knock out the rest of what’s behind it. As of last Thursday, the company had not resubmitted the plan.

Thacher added that the HDC would be more likely to pass the revised plan because it would keep the front façade and restore the building’s original windows. A similar plan was passed by the HDC back in 2007, but the construction company never followed through with the plan.

Although the development plan would force owner Sava Lelcaj to move her restaurant elsewhere, she said it was good timing.

Lelcaj, who opened her café in June 2007, said she’s recently been looking for a new place to relocate because her business has gotten too big for 211 State Street.

“I’m looking at a couple different locations right now,” she said. “I definitely want to try and stay on State Street.”

Lelcaj named Earl of Sandwich’s former location as one that she’s interested in.

Lelcaj also said that she thought a CVS in her current location would bring more to the community than just medication and toiletries.

“I really think we’re in need of a CVS,” she said. “I think it would bring the Main Street locals on to State Street and blend our city.”

Michael Kaplan, a 2009 graduate from the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, said that after attending the University for four years, he thinks there is a big demand for a second pharmacy near campus.

“While the Village Apothecary is nice, I feel like you need more competition,” he said. “It would make the prices go down. You need another option.”

Ahmad Faik, also a 2009 LSA graduate, agreed that there should be another pharmacy downtown but that it should be a small business, not a corporate pharmacy.

“I think it should be a family-owned pharmacy, he said. “I feel like the CVS would take away from other businesses around here.”

The next deadline for the company to submit its plan to the HDC is May 18 and it would be reviewed by the committee on June 8. The public hearing on the proposal would be on June 11.

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