By ROBERT LINNEHAN
A long-vacant building that housed a gym and a jeweler is vacant no more as a developer recently tore down the structure to make way for a new CVS pharmacy that is scheduled to be open in the late summer. It marks the beginning of a new string of development along the busy Route 70 roadway.
The old Jack Kellmer Co. jeweler store and Cherry Hill Sports Club structure was a prime piece of real estate for CVS, spokesperson Mike DeAngelis said. The intersection of Route 70 and Brace road is traveled by thousands of vehicles each day, he said, and fits the criteria for a location for the pharmacy.
This will be the third CVS pharmacy in Cherry Hill when it opens in the late summer, he said.
“Visibility and viability. That’s what we look for in a new location for a pharmacy. The area is highly visible from both roadways and is an easily accessible location,” he said of the property. “We do a lot of due diligence when it comes to a new site. It’s all based on population density and customer traffic patterns, and we wouldn’t open an additional locale if we didn’t think it will be successful.”
CVS will begin construction on the new 13,000 square-foot pharmacy in next few weeks, he said.
It’s a jumping off point for the development and redevelopment along Route 70 for 2011, Cherry Hill Chief of Staff Dan Keashen said. According to Keashen, Wawa is planning to build a “super” Wawa on Route 70 across from Marlkress Road.
A former hotel near I-295 will also be converted into an assisted living center in the coming year, Keashen said.
“You’re starting to see from a global perspective that companies are freeing up more capital to invest into what they would deem as important communities,” Keashen said. “Communities, such as Cherry Hill, that will be able to support whatever products they put out.”
He also pointed to 2010 when Melitta Coffee expanded its Cherry Hill site. Also, $8 million will be invested into the Kennedy Hospital site in 2011, he said, an organization that has been in Cherry Hill for the past 50 years.
There’s economic activity brewing in Cherry Hill, Keashen said, and the business community doesn’t seem to be in a stagnant state along Route 70.
Across from the Camden Community College, Keashen said Vineland Construction is building a new three-story office building. The facility will be on the eastbound side of Route 70.
“There are a number of good things happening right now along Route 70, and we’re very excited,” Keashen said.