Mayor Landrieu, Councilmember Gray Join CVS/ Pharmacy To Break Ground On Lower 9th Ward Store
NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and District E Councilmember James Gray joined CVS/ pharmacy to break ground on a new store in the Lower Ninth Ward at 5000-5030 North Claiborne Ave. at 10:30 a.m.
This is a major milestone for this area, marking the first major retailer to commit to a project in the neighborhood since Hurricane Katrina. The new store is scheduled to open in January 2016, bringing 20 new full and part-time permanent jobs to the community.
CVS /pharmacy is building a 13,225 square-foot retail store at 5000-5030 North Claiborne Ave., at the corner of Forstall Street. The block currently includes an abandoned, former service station and a residential property.
“We are thrilled by the commitment of CVS/ pharmacy to the people of Lower 9,” said Mayor Landrieu. “For so long, the people of Lower 9 have demanded and deserved economic development, and today we are delivering. As we continue to rebuild New Orleans better and more resilient than before, this new CVS/ pharmacy will be a symbol of renewal and reinvestment in the historic Lower Ninth Ward. I thank CVS for its investment and I know that this retailer will be a good partner for this community.”
CVS/ pharmacy, which currently operates ten stores in New Orleans, is helping people on their path to better health by providing the most accessible and personalized expertise in its stores. It is the first national pharmacy to end the sale of tobacco and the first pharmacy in the nation to receive the Community Pharmacy accreditation from URAC, the leading health care accreditation organization that establishes quality standards for the health care industry.
"In the years since Hurricane Katrina, we have remained committed to serving the New Orleans community and aiding the relief and recovery effort," said Roger Francis, Area Vice President of CVS/ pharmacy in Louisiana. "We are proud to be the first national retailer to open a store in the Lower Ninth Ward and we look forward to taking care of the pharmacy needs for the people who live here."
The CVS/ pharmacy project required zoning changes. District E Councilmember James Gray has worked with the developer to ensure a smooth planning and zoning process.
“A CVS Drugstore on North Claiborne is evidence that national retailers share our confidence in the future of the Lower Ninth Ward,” said District E Councilman James Gray. “This will be a successful venture for them. To the people of the Ninth Ward, you’ve suffered long and been strong. Your strength and determination are beginning to bear fruit. To other potential investors, this is the time and the place. Invest soon or stand back and watch others reap the rewards.”
As part of the zoning process, the project completed the Neighborhood Participation Plan (NPP) process. CVS/ pharmacy hosted an NPP meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014 at the MLK Charter School on North Claiborne Avenue.
Mayor Landrieu and his economic development team at City Hall and the New Orleans Business Alliance worked with CVS/ pharmacy on this project, and they are committed to working to attract additional development to the Lower Ninth Ward.
“We are thrilled that CVS has chosen to offer these vital amenities to residents of the Lower Ninth Ward and the surrounding area,” said New Orleans Business Alliance President and CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. “An investment by CVS in this neighborhood is clearly a vote of confidence in its viability and its future. Today’s groundbreaking is only a beginning and much more remains to be done, but this is an important start.”
Recently, the City completed the new $19 million Andrew P. Sanchez Community Center and new $4.1 million NOFD Engine 22 and 39 Fire Station which are both located at the intersection of North Claiborne Avenue and Caffin Street in the Lower Ninth Ward, just up the street from the CVS/ pharmacy.
“The coalition of public, private, not-for-profit and community leadership has led to new developments in Lower 9 like the CVS,” said Arthur Johnson, Executive Director, Lower 9 Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development. “This is an indication of how working together can make an economic difference in a community. I look forward to other endeavors that will help this community to grow and be sustainable for the future.”
Road work across the Lower Ninth Ward is also underway. Through the Mayor’s targeted, place-based development strategy, the Lower Ninth Ward’s recovery is also benefitting from initiatives like the $52 million “soft second” mortgage homebuyer assistance program and Lot Next Door Program reforms aimed at getting over grown and vacant property back into commerce.
In recent years, the City reopened the new $2.1 million Oliver Bush Playground and teamed with the New Orleans Hornets and Salvation Army to provide over $470,000 in improvements to Sam Bonart Playground.