NEW ORLEANS, LA- Mayor Mitch Landrieu and District E Councilmember James Gray announced today that CVS/pharmacy plans to open a new store in the Lower 9th Ward next year. It marks the first major retailer to commit to a project in the neighborhood since Hurricane Katrina.
CVS/pharmacy is proposing to open a 13,225 square foot retail pharmacy at 5000-5030 North Claiborne Avenue, at the corner of North Claiborne and Forstall Street. The block currently includes an abandoned, former service station and residential property. It will bring 20 new full and part-time jobs.
“The people of Lower 9 have demanded and deserved economic development, and we are delivering,” said Mayor Landrieu. “This new CVS/pharmacy will be a symbol of renewal and reinvestment in the historic Lower Ninth Ward. I thank CVS for its investment and I know that it will be a good partner for this community.”
CVS/pharmacy, which currently operates eight stores in New Orleans, is helping people on their path to better health by providing the most accessible and personalized expertise in its stores. It is the first national pharmacy to end the sale of tobacco and is the first pharmacy in the nation to receive the Community Pharmacy accreditation from URAC, the leading health care accreditation organization that establishes quality standards for the health care industry.
“CVS/pharmacy was on the front lines of aiding in the relief and recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina, so we are pleased to be working with the City of New Orleans to bring our best in class patient-centered medication management programs, wellness services, preventive and chronic disease management, and high quality health, beauty and personal care offerings to the Lower 9th Ward,” said Helena Foulkes, President of CVS/pharmacy.
The CVS/pharmacy project will require some zoning changes. District E Councilmember James Gray has worked with the developer to ensure a smooth planning and zoning process.
“It’s been a long nine years since Hurricane Katrina,” said District E Councilman James A. Gray. “ But with this CVS commitment to our community, the Claiborne Corridor is now poised for revitalization. We thank CVS/pharmacy for bringing shopping convenience to the neighborhood and we look forward to partnering with them in the comeback of the historic Lower Nine.”
As part of the zoning process, the project must go through the Neighborhood Participation Plan (NPP) process. CVS/pharmacy will host a NPP meeting on Wednesday, September 3, from 5:00 to 7:00pm (presentation at 6:00pm), at the MLK Charter School on North Claiborne. Once all approvals are received, CVS/pharmacy expects to begin construction in early 2015 and open its new store by next summer.
Mayor Landrieu and his economic development team at City Hall and the New Orleans Business Alliance worked with CVS on this project, and they committed to working to attract additional development, in particular a grocery store, to the Lower 9th Ward.
Economic development advisor Aimee Quirk said, “This is a big win for the Lower 9th Ward. The public sector has committed to rebuilding and investing in this community, and now CVS's investment shows the private sector's confidence in the future of this historic neighborhood.”
Later this year, the City will complete both the new $19 million Andrew P. Sanchez Community Center and new $4.1 million NOFD Engine 22 and 39 Fire Station which are both located at the intersection of North Claiborne Avenue and Caffin Street in the Lower Ninth Ward, just up the street from the proposed CVS/pharmacy. Road work across Lower 9 is also underway. Through the Mayor’s targeted, place-based development strategy, the Lower Ninth Ward’s recovery is also benefitting from initiatives like the $52 million “soft second” mortgage homebuyer assistance program and Lot Next Door Program reforms aimed at getting over grown and vacant property back into commerce. In recent years, the City reopened the new $2.1 million Oliver Bush Playground and teamed with the New Orleans Hornets and Salvation Army to provide over $470,000 in improvements to Sam Bonart Playground.
"We will continue work to attract new retail to every neighborhood in the City, to catalyze public investment, drive new sales tax revenues and create new jobs," said Melissa Ehlinger, Interim CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance.