Calhoun Village proposes drug store drive-thru at Lake Street & Market Plaza

Barnes & Noble would close to make way for a drug store, according to the company acquiring the shopping center.

UPDATE: The Barnes & Noble in West Calhoun had not closed as of January 2017. In late 2016, a Doran representative said the company was “still in negotiation” with a pharmacy.

Barnes & Noble is slated to close at 3216 W. Lake St., according to the company slated to acquire the Calhoun Village shopping center next fall.

Doran Companies’ Vice President Tony Kuechle said a drug store would occupy the Barnes & Noble and H&R Block footprints, with a drive-thru running behind the property. Walgreens currently occupies part of Calhoun Village, but Doran is not specifying Walgreens in its plans.

The current owner of the site, Pfaff Calhoun LLC, submitted plans to the city in May requesting approval of the drive-thru.

A drive-thru is an “allowed, approved use for that zoning district,” Kuechle said.

“It’s a very congested area,” he said. “We think the drive-thru will help with some of the parking issues.”

The proposal has drawn the scrutiny of the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association (CIDNA), which has raised concerns about increased drive-thru traffic in the busy area. A young woman died in 2014 when she was hit by a delivery truck at the corner of Lake Street & Market Plaza.

The neighborhood group adopted a resolution in early June opposing the drive-thru.

“They don’t seem to be very popular,” said Bob Corrick, chair of CIDNA’s Land Use and Development Committee. “They are the kind of thing they’re trying to discourage in this urban environment. The problem is it’s permitted under the code. … We would have a very hard time stopping them.”

Calhoun Village 2Despite the objections, the group commended Doran’s plans for pedestrian crosswalks and a dedicated bike trail through the property, which would connect the Midtown Greenway with Market Plaza. The neighborhood group is recommending the path be raised or protected by planters or bollard posts. In addition, the group would like to see an east-west pedestrian trail along the northern edge of the property, furthering a long-running effort to link Chowen Avenue and Dean Parkway south of the Greenway.

The application is slated to go before the city Planning Commission on June 27.

Kuechle said they haven’t started targeting new retailers for Calhoun Village.

“We have to finish acquiring the site and finish negotiations with the drug store site,” he said. “Some leases have flexibility, some don’t.”

Barnes & Noble, Walgreens and H&R Block did not immediately respond to a request for comment.