PLAISTOW — Walgreens will open in the Old Shaw's Plaza at 9 Plaistow Road, a good sign for the local economy, according to town leaders.
Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald met with property developers Taurus Investment Holdings LLC last month.
"It's a great sign," he said. "When you look at the other plazas along 125, this will again send a message that we have a very important commercial corridor that really provides a lot of opportunity for investment."
Town planner Leigh Komornick said the plaza owners have had trouble bringing in new tenants since Shaw's Supermarket moved across Route 125 to the Stateline Plaza in 2007.
"They've lost quite a few businesses in that plaza," she said. "Why or what's going on that's motivating businesses to leave I don't know."
In March, Northeast Rehabilitation moved its outpatient clinic out of the plaza after lease negotiations fell through. Komornick said two other businesses left the plaza in the past few years: Up Clothes and Personal, a consignment shop, and Mountain Dogs, a ski shop.
But the new Walgreens store shows economic growth is increasing along Route 125, Fitzgerald said. The state officially declared Route 125 an "economic revitalization zone" in 2009, giving incentives like tax credits to encourage businesses to invest there.
The store will be located within the 9 Plaistow Road plaza, but specifics of the store are still undecided.
"We met with them only briefly," Fitzgerald said. "I know our Board of Selectmen and Planning Board will be interested to see what they will come up with. The plans are still in the works."
Fitzgerald said he didn't know when the developers would come before the Planning Board with architectural plans. He said they haven't yet picked an exact location in the plaza, which has multiple empty spaces that could work for Walgreens.
Adam Clarke, property manager for Taurus Investment Holdings LLC, said they have a deal with Walgreens, but would not comment further. A Walgreens spokesman also confirmed the plan, but would give out no details.
Other business owners in the plaza welcome the news. Jim Palmer, owner of the Live Free or Diner said he's happy to see some space filled.
"It will definitely have a positive impact on the plaza," he said. "Anything that drives traffic into the mall will potentially give us here a boost, so I'm looking forward to it. I'm curious as to where it will be located. I heard something about putting it on the front row, razing the end of the plaza and rebuilding."
He said he would prefer to see it in the former Shaw's space, which is 48,000 square feet. The typical Walgreens store is 14,500 square feet.
But Palmer also wondered why Plaistow needs another big pharmacy, with a CVS, Rite Aid and a Wal-Mart pharmacy already in town.
"I don't understand how these big pharmacies make money," he said. "How many big box pharmacies can Plaistow support?"
But Fitzgerald said the developers realize the amount of traffic that travels along Route 125 makes it the perfect location.
"There are a lot of pharmacies, but when you have 30,000 trips a day along a very busy commercial corridor, I think a lot of the businesses understand that they can really capture a big part of the commuting public," he said. "It's very convenient roadway system for those types of businesses and services."
• • •
Join the discussion. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.