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CVS Eyes New Location on Site of Abandoned St. Paul Lutheran Church

If approved by planning commission and Architectural Board of Review, construction could begin by September.

is considering the purchase and development of land a couple of blocks west of its current Detroit Avenue location to set up shop.

But in order to begin construction, developers will first have to tear down the abandoned St. Paul Lutheran Church on the property.

And before any of that, the multi-million-dollar project will need final approval from a couple of city boards.

Dru Siley, the assistant director of planning and development, is optimistic.

He said if the project is OK’d by the planning commission Thursday — and then, the Architectural Board of Review on March 10 — construction crews could break ground in September.

Siley said developers have been working with the city since January to make sure that the design of the building is “complimentary to our downtown architecture.”

“This is going to be turned into a tax producing property — both income and property taxes, and I think the design is going to be a benefit to the community,” he said.

Plans call for the 14,000-square-foot, red brick structure to be built near the street (catering to the city’s walkability); a parking lot that’s in the rear of the building; and large windows facing Detroit Avenue.

The property would extend from Lakeland to Arthur avenues.

“It’s another example of us working with a national retail chain and them working with us to make it what we’d like in our city — not the other way around,” said Siley.

He said it has been difficult to find a reuse for the 107-year-old church — which has sat vacant for the past several years.

Even more troubling, he said, is the prospect that it could stay vacant.

“We don’t want demolition by neglect,” he said.

 The holds the right of salvage, meaning the stained glass windows, pews and lights will all be saved. 

Sean McDermott, of the — the development firm working on the project for CVS — wouldn’t specify the financial details of the plan (including the purchase price), but said that it was a “multi-milion-dollar” project.

He said if all goes according to plan, the store could be open by April 2012.

“(CVS) knew going in that it would have to be something that would fit Lakewood — Detroit Avenue more specifically,” he said.

The planning commission is set to vote on whether to permit conditional use for the parking lot on Thursday, but no rezoning is needed for the property.

Siley said he doesn’t know what will become of the space at 15311 Detroit Avenue currently occupied by CVS.

“I don’t think it will stay empty too long,” he said.

Sandy March 04, 2011 at 08:17 PM
So then what happens to the empty space CVS is leaving? At least an empty church looks better than an empty store. Also, who is getting the rose window and other windows in the church? I hope there is care in demolition.
Pat Ballasch August 15, 2011 at 03:34 PM
FYI: Sale price of a property is public information. (The details often are not.) This article seems to be a little dated. I walked past the church the Saturday of the Lakewood Art Festival and the stained glass windows had been removed. (I have a picture)
Colin McEwen August 15, 2011 at 03:56 PM
Pat, we've got additional updates on this space. We've been following it along through the process... We hyperlinked to this story because it talks about the specifics of the architectural design — complete with the renderings. Thanks for commenting!
Don Zehnder September 11, 2011 at 11:39 PM
All 7 of my brothers and sisters, all of my 5 children and many uncles, aunts, neices and nephews went to that school and church. I was baptized, confirmed and married there. Sure is a hard thing to see. God sure directed a lot of lives at that institution. Don Zehnder

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