0
Votes

Eckerd Eyes Site in Centre Ridge

Eckerd Drug Store is eyeing a site in the Marketplace at Centre Ridge shopping center to open up a new drugstore. The chosen spot is between Centrewood Drive on the west and Multiplex Drive on the east.

"We are under contract to purchase the 4.8 acres behind the [Centreville] Multiplex Cinemas," said Mark Huffman, a development partner with Cadence Capital Investments. He spoke on behalf of Eckerd at the July 15 meeting of the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee.

When this shopping center was first developed, the site was originally approved for a Clyde's restaurant and ice-skating rink. But Clyde's backed out, and Eckerd doesn't need all that land for its store so, said Huffman, "We'd let the community decide what should go on the unused part."

Sully District Planning Commissioner Ron Koch suggested a "pocket park" on the extra one acre, and WFCCA's Jim Hart said something recreational, such as a park, "might be an idea worth exploring."

Eckerd would be a drive-through store with a brick exterior, with entrances proposed from both Multiplex and Centrewood drives. But the latter entrance was hotly opposed.

"Centrewood Drive is becoming a very annoying road," said WFCCA's Carol Hawn. "There's now a light at almost every intersection and a blind intersection at the tip. It's stop-and-start, and people don't obey the 40 mph speed limit. I'm not in favor of any additional turns off of Centrewood."

WFCCA's Russell Wanek agreed and, added Hart, "An entrance on Centrewood is not consistent with my expectations of what the shopping center should be. And it wouldn't [then] provide a cushion between the center and the [nearby] townhouses."

While saying he believes a drugstore would be "a nice use in the shopping center — compatible with the other businesses there and within walking distance of many homes" — he also had a problem with the store's orientation. Since it's on a corner, he said, instead of facing outward for maximum visibility, it should be oriented to Multiplex Drive, "as are all the other businesses there, except for the movie theater."

Hart said, once Eckerd is built, people will know it's there and will go to it, so it needn't face outward to be successful. He also suggested possibly flipping the empty portion of the site so that it would be on the corner.

Huffman said Eckerd would request a 24-hour operation, but wouldn't do it. And WFCCA's Kathleen Hill, who lives in Centre Ridge, said she'd oppose it. She also warned that the store's lighting "will be an issue" because of the nearby homes.