Residents Question Cedar Lane Walgreens Plan

Walgreens proposed across from local pharmacy and near a CVS

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. 


Related Coverage: 

  • Pharmacy Could Replace Louie’s in Teaneck
  • Louie’s in Teaneck Closed ‘Indefinitely’
  • Landlord Hopes to Keep Theater on Cedar Lane
  • POLL: What Do You Want to See on Cedar Lane?

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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. 

JamesTS February 12, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Barbara and carol: what does town govt have to do with this??? Walgreens is a business..they are following the market. All these nice places like Starbucks and fine dinning are NOT interested in coming to this town.
PM February 12, 2013 at 07:06 PM
Thanks for calling out Elie Katz. He is an independent opportunist for sure. I wouldn't trust him with ANYTHING related to our town. Yes, let's put up a discount Kosher Chinese place next to/in proximity of his business venture and see how he likes it. Our council is a joke and we should not give support to the jesters. Just like obama, they are playing with OUR money,
Tee Smyth February 12, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Elie Katz: Chosen by many, but serves a select few. Yeah, I said it.
shimon baum February 12, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Not sure what Katz has to do with this since his name wasn't even mentioned in the article. Also calling out someone on the internet how brave of you Tee. Do people not understand that business have to actually want to come to a town and that the Walgreens is the only one I've hear of so far who does.
Tee Smyth February 12, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Right on time: It's Doom McGloom. I didn't bring up Katz's name, I merely commented after others. But, even if I did....so what? He's an elected official. This is a public forum. If reading comments about elected officials bothers you, perhaps this is not the proper online portal for you. Have a better day. The sun is shining. :-)
NC February 12, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Gotta admit that the rendering looks like a very attractive upgrade to that run-down section of Cedar Lane, which is appealing. But again, it's so silly to add another pharmacy when there are several CVS's within a 2 mile radius, one within a stones throw, Alvin's pharmacy at the bottom of the hill and J&J ACROSS THE STREET. Everyone mentions Starbucks. I think that would be a perfect addition to the area, (and make sense for them if you look at their locations on a map) but would they tear down and rebuild? Add parking like Walgreen's? Doubt it. Unless some of other, more "eclectic" developers start showing interest in buying property and offering up plans, then what other choices do we really have? Do we need to seek them out and beg them to come here? Or just complain about the one decent offer that finally pops up?
Tom Abbott February 13, 2013 at 12:53 AM
The last line of the article. "The town's zoning board is set to hear the Walgreens application Feb. 26." is the township hearing. Clearly they are asking for variances from the township's zoning rules or a hearing would not be necessary. If memory serves, a drive-through would require a variance. Likely they are requesting other variances as well. Those who want there opinions heard whether for or against should attend the hearing.
zizi February 13, 2013 at 01:17 AM
Nick: Teaneck need to be business friendly... period..... Developers will find Teaneck in no time..... We need to make zoning changes (free) and let us designate whole Cedar Lane a multiple mixed use high rise building zone. Than sit back and see what market forces will do to the run down area Cedar Lane is and has been for ages. Developers will buy out and raze everything in sight and rebuild the whole area much like they did in Englewood. High rise condos with big chain stores and big name restaurants downstairs...... The best thing is that it would not require hiring consultants and firms or any such thing..... But this is Teaneck we are talking about... it ain't gonna happen here.....
Rick February 13, 2013 at 05:15 AM
Starbucks gave up on Teaneck years ago. A recent trip to San Francisco saw a brand new Walgreens open up in a closed Virgin Records store, only a couple of blocks from a larger Walgreens. The newer stores are essentially 7-11's that sell perscriptions, drinks and bus passes! The store I saw was much smaller than the Bergenfield store and had about 20 parking spaces.
Armstead Mealy February 13, 2013 at 02:17 PM
This used to be a suburb ! There seems to be a concerted effort in the last ten years or so to recreate the big city atmosphere most ran from in the first place. Everyone demanding services and then complaining of high taxes. I've lived in this town since 1960 and lament the changes i've witnessed. Time for me to leave and head for a more civil existance. Adios muchachos !
Noah Cohen February 13, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Note: The Walgreens application will be heard Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Teaneck Library. Here's the official agenda: http://www.teanecknj.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.pageDetails&id=20343&typeID=384
Tom Abbott February 13, 2013 at 05:44 PM
As per the change in the article the Board of Adjustment hearing will be on February 21 at 7 pm at the Teaneck Library.
PM February 13, 2013 at 07:19 PM
I too have lived here too long..can't wait to get the hell out. Until then, I am going to comment on this sorry ass town which the council ran down.
Michael J. Klatsky February 13, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Actually, most people came to Teaneck for its low cost housing - relative to the Upper West Side of Manhattan or Riverdale. It is the big city feel that Teaneck has that attracts people in the first place with half the cost. Note: If people wanted to live away from the big city feel, they would have no need to move here... they can easily move Suffolk County, Rockland County, Upper Passaic County or Morris County and have a much better commute to the city than the ride from hell that is the bus-stituted train line that runs through Teaneck 167T/167Q/177.
Michael J. Klatsky February 13, 2013 at 09:37 PM
We should take note, since Englewood Cliffs is currently heavily pushing the approval of a new office park in what many consider "the middle of nowhere", accessible only by car for LG Electronics. This site will house 1,200 employees! An office tower in the heart of Cedar Lane or West Englewood would do wonders for the local stores and also keep the workers in the proposed tower happy being in an actually downtown with things to do during their lunch break other than eat in the company cafeteria. Look at what is being proposed in middle of nowhere! Just imagine the customers that a project like this can bring to Cedar Lane! Tell our elected officials to promote 175-foot office towers with ground floor retail! NOW ALREADY! http://www.northjersey.com/englewoodcliffs/Englewood_Cliffs_corporate_tower_plan_under_fire.html
watching it all from afar February 15, 2013 at 03:21 AM
watching it all from afar February 15, 2013 at 02:08 PM
go watch the cars line up to go through a drive-thru in any store when the weather is bad, during rush hour with people going to and from work, before and after school starts, during flu season, parents with young kids, older people, people with disabilities...this does not include traffic patterns for high volume stores add in the fact that some customers need 2 minutes of your time and others need 15 minutes or more in the drive thru while the other cars back up because no one wants to go into the store add on the fact that even if the prescription is ready to sell, it can take you 15 minutes to even find it in a high volume store because you have to check multiple bins, shelves or discover the medication was in the fridge and you didn't know because you were unfamiliar with the medication see if the store wants to put in two lanes someone saying "a pharmacy drive-through would not produce the same steady flow of traffic as a coffee shop" might be correct but that does not mean there there would not be a significant amount of traffic or that there might be a steady flow of traffic due to other factors...also flow could be higher or lower at times than a coffee shop this does not count the new changes coming where you will to enter information for id to pickup certain medications on top of asking for balance rewards card and email on top of consultation questions, insurance problems, payment problems...
watching it all from afar February 15, 2013 at 02:24 PM
add on time needed to promote flu shot, shingles shot and medicare part d appointment reviews during open enrollment add on the people who had some issue with their order or insurance the first time they come who have to come back after we change the order or call insurance
watching it all from afar February 15, 2013 at 02:33 PM
what items and services are going to be offered in this 10,000 square foot store? food, frozen yogurt, smoothies, salads, wraps, sushi, cheese, eyebrow shaping, hair salon, eyeglasses, optometrists. beauticians? what items and services might be coming in the future to attract more customers? wine and beer? what else? there might be more local business affected than convenience stores, card gift shops and small pharmacies
watching it all from afar February 15, 2013 at 02:56 PM
if walgreens says the new store will create a certain number of jobs, ask how many are fulltime, parttime and estimated hours can't predict the future but other walgreens stores nearby might not stay open so some people might be transfered to new store and fulltime positions changed into parttime positions to reduce benefits and costs pharmacy kiosks also reduce labor needs and costs
zizi February 15, 2013 at 03:20 PM
@watching it all from afar: So what was your point?
GDW February 20, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Watching it all from afar might be saying that Walgreens has been known to leave out information. One example is telling you that you won't get the sale price on an item without their new balance rewards card while management can be asked to give you the sale price without the card. A second example is giving you a price for medication with the Walgreens savings club and not tell you that you could compare drug prices online and find coupons or other retailers that are cheaper or don't have the same restrictions. A third example is asking parents "Do you want this medication flavored", having parents say "Yes" and pick out a flavor, and then parents are told the flavor will cost $2.99. What they don't tell parents is that most of the medications already come flavored. These are the three examples that come to my mind at the moment. I would not assume that Walgreens will volunteer specific information on anything they plan to do in the future or in the proposed 10,000 square foot store.
teaneck resident February 20, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Just to be straight I find Teaneck to be their own worst enemy they say they want a Starbucks but when they were looking in this town trying to get in Teaneck would not give them the concessions to make that a reality. We had cafes and no one comes to them. We now have a new one and i have not heard it mentioned even once they have food although a small menu lunch, dinner and talent there just what everyone is or has been asking for. Its on the previous Blast location also what everyone wanted but no one went to. Maybe if people ask for and then frequent themselves or the town works with the businesses that want to be in town things might look up for Cedar Lane and Teaneck in general.
Tom Abbott February 20, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Though a Starbucks in Teaneck has been talked about often, the talk has not come from Starbucks. The statement about Teaneck refusing to give Starbucks concessions is apocryphal at best.
ABL February 21, 2013 at 10:57 PM
there is a board of adjustment meeting tonight in the teaneck library at 7 PM i hope many people come out to voice their disgust with this plan and ask the board of adjustment to deny all variances and bulinding permits.
Lisa Dee March 18, 2013 at 07:34 AM
Did you not get the word, if the town does not come around on variances,they will just build a much less appealing building. Let them build the best situation not the worst. Its still our town don't you want an appealing Cedar Lane.
Lisa Dee March 18, 2013 at 07:53 AM
You were not at meeting they have a plan B that does not require variances. If they do not get variances they will build a much leass attractive store and it will not flow with shopping street. Its our town if they are going to build don't we want the nicest building and one that flows with Cedar Lane.
PM March 18, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Teaneck.....becoming like East Timor one day at a time...
Lisa Dee March 19, 2013 at 06:04 AM
Taxes, Taxes Taxes This Chamber of commerce has overseen the biggest exodus of busineses from Teaneck. The answer let buildings sit empty homeowners should pay all the taxes. I have not heard of one established business in all the comments that is even considering Teaneck. Hackensack looking better choice already.
Lisa Dee March 22, 2013 at 06:31 AM
Our town has found another reason for people to avoid Cedar Lane. They are posting plain clothes police in cross walks to hand out tickets. They are following a town that has the highest rate of these problems. Why punish teaneck residents for problems that exist in other places. We don't have the problem but hey if the police can handout more tickets and chase residents from Cedar Lane, Council another great idea!


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