Walgreens gives up on 3000 block of Avenue

       After more than half a year of consideration, Walgreens has decided the 3000 block of West Colorado Avenue isn't worth the trouble.
       The corporate drugstore giant “is no longer pursuing that area,” according to Suzanne Duret of Semper Construction in Denver. Semper builds Walgreens stores, and Duret had been negotiating with the property owners on the north side of that block, west of the 7-Eleven, in hopes of acquiring sufficient space for a new store.
       “The decision was made by Walgreens because we were not able to obtain all the properties we needed,” Duret said in a phone interview this week, before declining to answer further questions.
       The project plan would have removed all the existing businesses in that area of the block and move the Wendy's store next to the 7-Eleven. The Walgreens would have been similar to the one that is to be built at Uintah Gardens this year, with drive-through lanes for prescription-drug pickups.
       Some property owners had agreed to sell while others were in different stages of negotiation.
       One owner with whom negotiations had admittedly stalled was Olde Town Optical & Gifts, which is next to the 7-Eleven. “They couldn't get it cheap was what the problem was,” said John Daugherty, who owns the business with his wife, Lori. “If we were the reason, I can live with the guilt.”
       The couple were holding out for a higher offer because they really didn't want to sell. “It's been a dream of ours for over 20 years,” Daugherty said of the three-year business. “We wanted to be between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs so we could service both areas. So when the monopoly giant wanted to move in, we couldn't turn our dream over to them.”
       Also happy at Walgreens' decision was Eugene Orner. He and his wife Nancy have owned their house in the 3000 block of Pikes Peak Avenue behind the would-be project for 29 years and didn't know how a new store would affect them. “That's good,” he said at the news, “because we have a lot of remodeling projects we were going to do. We've been sitting here on our thumbs, wondering what to do, and now we can go ahead.”
       Louis Lambert, who co-owns the Independent Records store and the neighboring house on the corner of Colorado and 31st, had received an offer from Duret and told her he was “open to negotiations,” but a new offer never came. Instead, Duret advised him about two weeks ago the plan was off. Lambert wasn't that sorry at the news. When he and his brother, Orville, decided on the current location in 1999, it marked the culmination of a 12-year search for a site on the Westside, he said. The brothers hope within the next few years to relocate the house and expand the store to the corner, he added.

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