CVS Tangles with BAR

The BAR has told CVS to bugger off, Will Goldsmith reports in the current C-Ville Weekly. The pharmacy wants to move their location on the Downtown Mall to the corner of West Main and McIntire, where the equipment rental company is now. But the Board of Architectural Review is pretty annoyed with the developer, who is trying to put up your standard CVS with nothing more than a nod to BAR standards — a one-story box with a fake second story, with no residential or office-space components. The developer is no more happy with the BAR.

Those fake second stories look so stupid — just stand to the side or behind the building and it’s always obvious it’s one step above cardboard held up with a few 2x4s. The developer, apparently trying to sound threatening, says that CVS might bail on the new location entirely. Boo. Hoo.

16 thoughts on “CVS Tangles with BAR”

  1. Anyone know their reason for leaving the mall? It seems like a pretty good location for them, at least it’s a great location for me to get there and I’d be sad to see them move to a busy trafficy intersection.

  2. Go BAR! Who are these twits at CVS who think that it really means squat to us whether they built their store on that corner or not? They’re asking us for a favor, not vice-versa. If anything, I’d rather not see a big chain drugstore of any kind on that particular corner. A location like that really begs for a nice piece of architecture.

    I do agree that there is a place for building whatever ugly chain store box you want on any piece of land you want. That place is Waynesboro. Not downtown Charlottesville.

  3. Chains like CVS typically evaluate sites based on how many cars drive by. I don’t think that model works for a downtown location. I can’t imagine more people going to this location than current go to the downtown mall location. I’m in there every other day, but would go a store on this site a lot less often (crossing McIntire is avoided when possible).

    This site is a landmark location, and should get a major structure – built to the full extent of zoning.

  4. I would love to see something replace the equipment rental business there, but I am glad that it won’t be this. The developer seems to have made it a pretty easy decision. Just reading the paper you would know that the BAR objected to the faux 2nd story. Also, if you want to get this passed you don’t call the building “the CVS project.” They know you are trying to build a big box chain store, but you don’t have to rub it in their faces every time you are on the agenda. Hopefully someone with deep pockets and imagination will buy the building as I don’t think these guys are up to it.

  5. I for one, would really miss the mall location of CVS. They serve the entire mall for walk-in business. I’m sure that the CVS people have a cost-based plan to build a box on every corner, but wouldn’t be fantastic if they could renovate the current space to take advantage of the Water St entrance?

  6. The architects drawings for the CVS building look as good or better than the Lewis and Clark Condo building. I think the BAR causes more problems than they solve.

  7. Good point about that location actually being worse. I go to the downtown CVS regularly right now, but if they move over to the corner of W. Main I will probably never walk in there again. Just because it’s kind of out of my way. Most of us who work downtown would have to cross that busy 5 way intersection on foot in order to go there. Which we just don’t feel like doing. I guess they’d get lots of business from the people who have offices on West Main street. Which is probably a fraction of what you find within the foot traffic orbit of the mall.


  8. One of the vestiges of what’s worthy in Charlottesville is the character of Downtown. There needs to be standards and tools to keep the big box chains from ruining it. That’s it.

  9. Boxer4H: I can’t say for sure, but I don’t feel that the aesthetic of the building plan is the only criterion that the BAR uses. It’s way too subjective and .

    Off the top of my head, the economy of urban space, future use of the building, accessbility and traffic, historical preservation of the neighborhood, and overall authentic architectural design (not the same as aesthetics) must play a part. Also, the future possibility renovating or rebuilding on a site that has a structure that is inflexible or too branded has an effect on the property value. Buildings hang around for generations, and their functionality should have staying power. In 20-30 years, do we really want to call the the corner of Ridge and Main “that old CVS building that keeps changing tenants?”

  10. That may be true, although some of what I read seemed to lean towards the way it look on the outside was the reason for the BARs holdup. Maybe I didn’t read it correctly.

  11. Well, I miss the old Standard Drug Store that was where CVS is now on the Mall. That was one unique store. One more local business gone, replaced by a chain.
    At least we still have Timberlake’s.

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