Chapel Hill News

CVS to demolish Carrboro’s No. 1 eyesore

CVS Health plans to tear down this former bank building at the corner of North Greensboro and West Weaver streets in downtown Carrboro. The company wants to replace its store in the Carr Mill shopping center across the street with a new store on the property.
CVS Health plans to tear down this former bank building at the corner of North Greensboro and West Weaver streets in downtown Carrboro. The company wants to replace its store in the Carr Mill shopping center across the street with a new store on the property. mschultz@newsobserver.com

The town’s top eyesore – a decaying former bank building downtown – will be torn down, amid new CVS plans to develop the site.

“CVS Pharmacy will be conducting a demolition of the company-owned building located on the corner of North Greensboro and West Weaver Streets, in compliance with a new ordinance in the town of Carrboro,” CVS Health spokesman Gary Serby said by email Friday.

The company, which previously tried to develop the site as a replacement for its Carr Mill Mall store, has submitted a “scaled-back” version of the plan, said Mayor Lydia Lavelle.

“It’s the No. 1 question I’ve been asked since I’ve been mayor: ‘What are you going to do about the building on the corner,’ ” Lavelle said.

She had been talking with CVS for three years about options, including offering to have the town tear down the building and lease back the parking spots, “really to no avail.”

The new town ordinance seems to have made the difference, she said.

The ordinance details standards of maintenance for roofing, entrances, bathrooms, utilities and landscaping, among other provisions. Owners out of compliance will have the option to repair, sell or demolish the structure. If they fail to take action within two years, town officials can step in.

The town sent a letter to CVS after passing the ordinance, Lavelle said. The company sent representatives to tour the building, who promptly decided it was beyond repair, she said.

She hopes the company will remove the chain-link fence that now surrounds the site, and she wants to resume talks about using the parking spaces until CVS is ready to develop.

Revco Discount Drug Centers Inc., a subsidiary of CVS Caremark Corp., paid Weaver Street Market roughly $1.35 million in 2010 for three properties: the building, the parking lot and a house on Center Street.

Plans to build a 24,590-square-foot, two-story retail store and offices drew criticism.

After local anarchists briefly occupied the building, CVS fenced off all three properties in 2012. The company boarded up the windows and doors. The house also was boarded up.

The rezoning request was withdrawn in 2013.

The new plan calls for a two-story, 11,250-square-foot building with 52 parking spaces, town Planning Director Trish McGuire said Monday. The plan encompasses four of the seven parcels on the block: two owned by CVS and two owned by dentist Debra Seaton.

The plan would require a conditional rezoning, a public hearing and Board of Aldermen approval. It does not include the boarded-up house on Center Street.

Lavelle acknowledged that some Carrboro residents still may not want to see a drugstore on the site. If the town owned it, it would have had more options, including possibly putting the new library there, the mayor said.

But the town doesn’t own it, and the drugstore, one of the chain’s highest-grossing stores in the state, serves downtown residents and workers, she said.

For now, demolishing the vacant building is a good thing, Lavelle said.

“I’m really happy about it,” she said. “It will be a good start to the new year.”

Schultz: 919-829-8950

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