City looking to fill Thurston Road Walgreens vacancy with another business

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s been three weeks now since one of the few remaining pharmacies in the 19th Ward closed its doors. The Walgreens Thurston Road location is now vacant, and city leaders say they continue to work on filling the void with another business. News10NBC has an update on their progress. 

People living in the 19th Ward that depended on that Walgreens have been forced to shop elsewhere for their pharmaceutical needs. They too want to see someone move in quickly.

“I did my vaccinations there. I did my booster shots there, and I occasionally pick up a prescription there,” said longtime Walgreens shopper Ruby Martinez.

She says the Thurston Road Walgreens was very convenient for her, located right across the street from the business she owns. Now the building is not only vacant, but the Walgreens sign has since been removed, and an interior gate prevents anyone from getting in.

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans tells us talks are in the works with multiple parties to bring a business there.

“This is a major commercial corridor, and individuals in that neighborhood, 14611, deserve to be able to go and get their albuterol, and cough drops just like anybody else,” said Evans.

We asked Evans what is the city’s responsibility for bringing a business here?

He responded, “We have no responsibility there. All we can do is advocate. We don’t own that property. We don’t own it.”

So who does? We took that question to Dana Miller, Rochester’s New Business Development Commissioner.

“It’s actually owned by a business in the Bronx. So it’s a real estate investor who owns the property. Walgreens was a tenant. They’re still a tenant, and have a lease until 2027,” said Miller.

That’s right, Walgreen’s Corporate Office decides what happens for the next four plus years.

“They’ve given us the opportunity to talk to them about any tenants that they would be willing to sublet to. So we’re in conversation with numerous potential tenants for the building right now,” said Miller.

Many 19th Ward residents have asked that a food market moves in, to provide the nutritious food not often found at the corner stores in the neighborhood.

“It’s needed in the community cause there’s nothing and all down Thurston, on this end, all the businesses are closing. So that would be a real, real need,” said Martinez.

City leaders have $5 million to help address the area’s food desert. Evans says it will help attract, or improve, existing food stores in the community.

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