SCHENECTADY — The city’s Northside/Goose Hill neighborhood would gain a Walgreens pharmacy under a proposal going before the city Planning Commission on Wednesday evening.
The new drug store would stand in the Sheridan Plaza shopping strip and would include a drive-through window and canopy. It would also be just 3,300 feet up Gerling Street from an existing Rite Aid pharmacy on Van Vranken Avenue.
Illinois-based Walgreens Boots Alliance completed its acquisition of Rite Aid in 2018 and has been closing stores in some areas where existing Rite Aid and Walgreens stores were close together.
Walgreens did not return a request for comment on its plans for that store or for the new store in Sheridan Plaza.
The Van Vranken Avenue store does not have a drive-up window.
Sheridan Plaza has been a quiet place in recent years after losing its two largest tenants, a Price Chopper mini-supermarket and then a CVS pharmacy.
The circa-1950s shopping center property consists of about 50,000 square feet of inside space and 80,000 square feet of asphalt parking. It is owned by Sheridan Plaza Associates of New Jersey, which could not be reached for comment for this story.
The real estate agent representing the plaza owners said he could not comment on the Walgreens proposal but said a listing recently seen online for the sale of the plaza is obsolete — the owners are now looking to revitalize it rather than sell it.
Camille Sasinowski, president of the Goose Hill Neighborhood Association, said she was aware of the Walgreens proposal.
“I guess there are pros and cons with that,” she said. Moving the neighborhood drug store up a hilly street without sidewalks will make things harder for people who have no car if they live closer to Van Vranken Avenue but easier if they live closer to Sheridan Plaza.
What the neighborhood really needs in Sheridan Plaza, she said, is a replacement for the little supermarket that closed there in 2006, one of the last 20,000-square-foot Price Choppers in an era where supermarkets were trending to double, triple and even quadruple that size.
“We’re a food desert,” Sasinowski said. “Say there were to be a real, genuine grocery up there, with a pharmacy included, that would be wonderful. That would serve everybody’s needs.”
She said she hoped that if the Walgreens is built in Sheridan Plaza, it would boost customer traffic in the area enough to entice someone to place a food market there.