Dose of intrigue

Walgreens said to be searching for sites

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In much the same way speculation preceded Wal-Mart's announcement that it would open a Supercenter in Craig, rumor and innuendo are beating Walgreens officials to the city planner's office.

Craig resident Marvin "Red" Courtner on Wednesday confirmed that officials with Walgreens have approached him about purchasing his property at 468 S. Ranney St.

Courtner said the company is interested in leasing all the property between his business and the corner of Ranney Street and Victory Way.

And that's not the only site officials could be interested in, Courtner said. He said he has been told of two others under consideration.

'Closed lipped'

But Walgreens rarely reveals its real estate hand, Courtner said.

"Nothing is real until money changes hands," Courtner said. "They're pretty good poker players. They've been pretty closed lipped."

Residents shouldn't start calling in their prescriptions to the Deerfield, Ill.-based retailer just yet.

Community Development Director Dave Costa said Walgreens hasn't approached his office with plans to open a Craig store and that the corporation hasn't asked for copies of the city's development regulations.

Corporate spokeswoman Carol Hively said Walgreens is expanding rapidly in Colorado. But she said she hasn't seen anything to indicate the Craig area is on the expansion list.

An internal committee must approve all expansion plans and that hasn't happened, Hively said.

"Maybe it will, but it seems awfully early to be speculating," she said. "The process starts with internal approval and there are a number of things we have to work through."

Long list of criteria

Walgreens has a long list of criteria that must be met before it will open a new store in the area, Hively said.

The chain said it builds stores only on corners of major intersections and requires enough space for a 14,500- to 14,800-square-foot building. The retailer also considers issues of adequate parking and demands enough space to accommodate a drive-through window.

Before it builds a store in a community, drugstore chain officials want to see the presence of large health care facilities and big retailers.

"We are known to walk away from sites that don't meet our criteria," Hively said.

Nothing concrete

The first Walgreens opened in 1901. The chain has grown to more than 4,000 stores in the United States.

If Walgreens makes an offer for the Ranney Street property, Courtner would move his business, which is Homemaker Lease to Own Furnishings.

There's a small chance he could move it to the old Ben Franklins building on Yampa Avenue, which he recently leased and remodeled, he said.

"Nothing is set in concrete," he said.

There are other options for the Yampa Avenue building, although it could be a temporary home if the furniture store needs one, he said.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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