CVS Pharmacy plans for 17th and State rile Boise’s North End, others

A rendering of the proposed CVS Pharmacy on State and 17th streets in Boise.
A rendering of the proposed CVS Pharmacy on State and 17th streets in Boise.

Last week, Indianapolis-based developer T.M. Crowley Northwest submitted an application and related paperwork seeking city of Boise authorization to build a CVS Pharmacy at 1625 W. State St.

If approved, the project would include the removal of the Arcade Building on the southeast corner of 17th and State streets. Three houses east of 17th and north of Jefferson Street also would be removed. The house at 1612 W. Jefferson St. would remain, city of Boise planner Celine Acord said.

The prospect of losing those buildings to make way for a 15,000-square-foot retail building and 48 parking spaces has set off alarm bells in the surrounding neighborhood. Talk of the project drew substantial criticism, dozens of angry and sad faces, and a few “likes” on the Facebook page for the North End neighborhood.

Facebook user Patrick J. Cusick summed up the sentiment of many: “Terrific. Remove affordable, downtown housing for a pharmacy when there’s already one 1/2 a block away.”

The Boise Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to consider the CVS proposal Nov. 13, Acord said. The city’s Design Review Committee would take up the project after that. The roughly one-acre lot is already zoned for general commercial uses, including pharmacies, Acord said, so the project would not go before the City Council unless someone appeals it.

That seems likely, given the groundswell of opposition and the fact that the North End is one of Boise’s most organized and richest neighborhoods.

None of the buildings on the lot are on the city’s list of historic buildings, said Sarah Schafer, Boise’s design review and historic preservation manager. That designation would snarl any demolition effort, though it might not stop the project. It’s unclear if any of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, a designation that recognizes buildings are worthy of preservation but does not restrict private landowners from altering or demolishing them.

CVS originally planned to build a pharmacy on the corner of Capitol Boulevard and Ann Morrison Drive, but withdrew its application a couple months ago. The company is planning its first Boise pharmacy in the Westgate Shopping Center near the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Cole Road.

Cody Herbster, T.M. Crowley’s vice president for real estate development, told the Idaho Statesman in April he hoped the Fairview-Cole store would open in 2018.

Herbster is listed as the applicant for the State Street store, too. Efforts to contact him and the project’s engineer for comment on this story were unsuccessful.