Seventeen years have passed since downtown Fort Worth had a drugstore within walking distance of most hotels and offices.
That long wait is just about over.
A two-story, "urban-style" CVS Pharmacy is on the verge of opening at Fifth and Houston streets, just outside the city's Sundance Square. A handwritten sign on the window of the store tells customers the CVS will be "opening June 24, 2018."
That date couldn't be verified immediately Monday by a local manager, who was helping crews install shelves and make other preparations for the store opening. She referred media inquiries to the Rhode Island company's corporate headquarters, but calls and emails were not returned immediately.
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But signs that the store is close to opening are everywhere. On Monday, workers in one area of the store facing Houston Street could be seen stocking shelves with cosmetics, while workers near another window facing Fifth Street were installing shelves that will hold drinks, snacks and grocery items.
The store's second floor, which will be accessible by a stairwell just a few feet from the entryway, will feature its prescription and over-the-counter drugs, one worker explained.
The arrival of CVS at a location that formerly housed the Ojos Locos sports bar will provide the center of downtown with its first full-service pharmacy within walking distance of Sundance Square since Eckerd Drug closed at 611 Houston St. (now the Library Bar) in 2001.
The closest pharmacy is a Walgreens at 921 Henderson St., on the western edge of downtown, about 0.7 mile from Sundance Square.
About 46,215 people work downtown, according to Downtown Fort Worth Inc. Another 7,612 people live downtown — many in the growing number of high-rise multifamily buildings. Also, downtown has 2,522 hotel rooms.
The CVS will emphasize health and fitness products and travelers' needs, Farukh Aslam, whose Fossil Creek Land Partners Inc. owns the building, has said.
A $1.2 million remodeling effort was needed to convert the former sports bar into a drugstore.
The CVS will occupy two floors on the eight-story (plus a mezzanine) Sanger Brothers Building, 515 Houston St. The building dates to 1925 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building originally housed Sanger Brothers Department Store and later a Lerner’s Store, a Meacham’s Department Store and the Color Tile Company.
The state filing for the new CVS location was made by Hurst-based Genesis Design Group. The firm has designed 15 stores for CVS and completed 15 conversions of Eckerd locations after the retailer acquired the drugstore chain, according to its website.
It’s not yet known precisely how CVS intends to design the interior, but recently the company has generated buzz by rethinking how it uses floor space. The company has changed its entryways and walkways to enhance exposure of skin creams, smoking cessation products and other health-care items as well as juices, nuts, vegetables and other healthy snacks.
The changes have been rolled out at 150 stores nationwide, according to the industry publication Chain Drug Review.
A new CVS that recently opened in Westlake’s Entrada development near the intersection of Texas 114 and Davis Boulevard features the unorthodox entryway and walkway pattern.
This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.