A public hearing on the Walgreens project will be held Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Teaneck Public Library
A proposed Walgreens drugstore on Cedar Lane includes a drive-through window, dozens of parking spaces and would benefit consumers by adding new competition to the area, representatives for the project said at a community meeting.
Some residents and Cedar Lane merchants, however, contend the chain store is entering a market already well-served by two drug stores and would not fit in with other nearby stores.
Win Development LLC has submitted plans to build the Walgreens at the former Louie's Charcoal Pit, the vacant Davis Toys and corner gas station Larry's Friendly Service. The plans call for the existing buildings to be torn down to make way for the 10,000 square foot pharmacy and a 26 space parking lot.
Victor Herlinsky Jr., the developer's attorney, said the Walgreens could reach 88,000 customers in the area.
A Walgreens store once located two blocks west on Cedar Lane failed, but Herlinsky said his client was confident the proposed store would succeed with its modern design.
The company has also conducted a market study to show the Walgreens can survive across from neighborhood drugstore J & J Pharmacy, and on the next block from a CVS, Herlinsky said.
"It doesn't make sense that there would only be one national retailer for a community the size of Teaneck," he said.
Howard Rose, owner of Brier Rose Books, said the building appeared to be segregated from nearby shops. Rose said two driveways on either side of the building made the structure "standoffish."
"It's going to be looking like a supermarket and that does not enhance Cedar Lane," Rose said.
Judaica House owner Toni Nayowitz called the building a "behemoth" and questioned the impact a drive-through would have on Cedar Lane traffic. Nayowitz said she worried Walgreens would put the other nearby drug stores out of business.
"I am saying, let's come up with an option that is going to benefit everybody and not put other people out of business," she said.
Residents pointed to traffic problems at the Dunkin Donuts drive-through near Cedar Lane and Palisade Avenue. But the developer's traffic engineer, Bahman Izadmehr, said a pharmacy drive-through would not produce the same steady flow of traffic as a coffee shop.
Judy Distler, a Teaneck resident, she said believed Cedar Lane would see a revival and the town should not rush to accept the first proposed development. The shopping area has seen a string of closures, including Louie's and the town's only movie theater.
"I wish people would have a little faith and support Cedar Lane," Distler said. "I feel that if this goes up, one of the others is going to close."
Owners of the vacant storefront and gas station said they were struggling and Walgreens was their only serious offer for the space. The owners of Louie's did not attend the meeting, but told Patch in 2010 that the diner was for sale.
Marc Davis, whose family owns the onetime toy store property, said the site has seen 17 tenants and none lasted more than 36 months.
"The fact is that there is a parking issue at that end," Davis said. "There is a lack of a good anchor like Walgreens where people will go to other stores."
Tim Roem, the owner of family-run Larry's service station, told the group his business had dropped off over the years.
"I wish I was still pumping the gallons I used to pump," he said. "We're not looking to put anybody out of business. This is an opportunity for us to move on."
The town's zoning board is set to hear the Walgreens application Feb. 21.
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Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the zoning board meeting was scheduled for Feb. 26. The meeting is actually scheduled for Feb. 21.