Public offers opinion on Lower Broadway Walgreens - WKRN News 2

Public offers opinion on Lower Broadway Walgreens

Posted: Updated: Jun 03, 2014 11:18 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - On Tuesday night, the public had a chance to share their opinions about a new ordinance that could prevent a Walgreens from opening on Lower Broadway in the heart of Nashville’s historic district.

It was one of the first chances to weigh-in on a controversy that’s brewed for months among the downtown business community.

The ordinance, sponsored by Metro Councilwoman Erica Gilmore, would place stringent conditions on any new business in what is called the Music City Cultural Heritage Overlay District.

Those conditions include a live performance venue and a mandate that 75% of sales “support the cultural heritage district by promoting the district or musicians, craftsmen/makers or performance venues.”

The new overlay district includes the buildings along Broadway between First and Fifth avenues, Second Avenue between Broadway and Church, and Printer’s Alley.

While not mentioning Walgreens by name, many analysts see the ordinance as a way to keep the drugstore chain out of Nashville’s honky-tonk and tourist district.

Gilmore requested a deferral of the bill until July so that changes could be made. The council approved her request.

Real Estate broker Richard Jones represents a developer who wants to put a Walgreens in the building at Third Avenue and Broadway that now houses western clothing and boot store “Trail West.”

“At this point, it’s the only location we are looking at,” Jones told News 2, adding, “We have not been in favor the ordinance in its present form.”

“We believe they [Walgreens] are a rightful retailer that have the right to sell on Broadway no different than the other 20 retailers that are there now,” he continued.

Tuesday’s Metro Council meeting was filled with downtown business owners and residents who support the legislation.

“The small business owners really care what happens downtown. We are not about big time growth, we want to stay where we are, grow a little at a time, but we want to keep the big box businesses out of downtown,” said Tom Kiermier, who owns Doc Holliday’s Saloon downtown.

Walgreens has never publicly acknowledged its desire to locate a store at Third and Broadway, but there’s been word of a potential legal action if the ordinance were to pass.

The CVC says the basic ordinance is patterned after legislation in other cities that has withstood a court challenge.

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