City approves demolition of seven buildings for CVS at Elysian and Claiborne

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Karen Gadbois /The Lens

Two of seven properties that would be razed to make room for a CVS pharmacy.

The Neighborhood Conservation District Committee approved a proposal Monday to demolish seven buildings at the corner of Elysian Fields and Claiborne avenues to make way for a 13,600-square-foot CVS.

Under the plan, all the buildings on the western side of Elysian Fields between N. Derbigny Street and Claiborne would be torn down. The buildings to be razed include a gas station, a car wash, a funeral home, two residential structures and several modular metal structures.

The parking lot for the CVS would be at the corner of Claiborne and Elysian Fields.

Bill Murphy, a member of the Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association, asked the committee to delay approval so the community could learn more about the project.

He questioned whether a pharmacy would fuel illegal sales of prescription drugs and said the building isn’t designed for an urban environment. “This project is designed as a suburban store,” he said. “A lot of people will not be driving to the store, and it is designed to be driven to.”

Two of seven properties that would be razed to make room for a CVS pharmacy.

Two of seven properties that will be razed to make room for a CVS pharmacy.

But Paul Cramer, who sits on the committee and the City Planning Commission, urged committee members to approve the demolition before a Planning Commission meeting on Feb. 25, when it will consider rezoning additional vacant properties needed for the project.

Murphy said the community had just learned about the project. “There are a lot of issues that need to be talked through before we start tearing down buildings,” he said.

When questioned about neighborhood outreach, James Farrelly, with the engineering firm Linfield, Hunter, & Junius, said the city’s Neighborhood Participation Program had held a community meeting. It happened in November at Sojourner Truth Community Center on Lafitte Street, almost two miles from the proposed site.

Farrelly said the meeting was held there because no one else returned calls to host it.

He did say project leaders had met Monday with representatives of the St. Roch Improvement Association and would revise the site plan based on their input.

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