If all goes as planned, we could be seeing a new Rite Aid pharmacy built on the southwest corner of Boblett Street and SR-543 as early as the end of 2013.
Rite Aid Corporation has requested a permit to build a 17,400 square foot retail building with associated parking, landscaping and utilities on 2.5 acres located behind the Blaine school campus. The development will allow the company to relocate from its smaller retail location at 1733 H Street in the Blaine International Shopping Center. “We’re excited about the possibility of moving to a new, larger and a little more accessible location,” Rite Aid spokesperson Eric Harkreader said.
As part of the permitting process, the building plans will undergo a state environmental policy act (SEPA) review that will examine environmental impacts. The review takes into consideration traffic, noise and wildlife impacts for developments.
Developers and city planners met with Blaine school district superintendent Ron Spanjer earlier this fall to discuss potential pitfalls to the project’s location, including the impact it would have on school traffic, but found little concern with the move. “We expect that there should be no problem getting their permits,” Michael Jones, city planner, said. “It’s a permitted use and a pretty simple process.”
Although the pharmacy will be located close to the school complex, it should not have any significant effect on the schools or the traffic flow in the area. “Our peak traffic is at dismissal time, from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m.,” Spanjer said. “We envision any added traffic egressing right to the state highway. And since we’re a closed campus, I don’t think this location would be any more accessible than any other location during school hours.”
The developer will be contributing $25,000 to a transportation improvement fund for the intersection that will help improve pedestrian crossings. It will also construct a right turn pocket lane that will ease traffic flow from Boblett onto SR-543.
“There was a traffic study as part of the review,” Ravyn Whitewolf, Blaine public works director, said. “They will need permits from WSDOT as well, but we’re looking forward to having a stable tenant at that location.”