Finally! Can you believe it’s been almost three years since we reported that Walgreens was coming to 5th and Broadway in Downtown LA? This will be the second Walgreens to open downtown (the other one is at 7th/Hope in the Financial District). Signs posted on the windows went up this week announcing for the community to join the grand opening on Jan 31, 2014 at 10 am. Workers were seen this past Wednesday adding the finishing touches with fresh paint to Walgreens’ ornate facade, such as the beautiful wrought iron detailing above the windows as part of the historic 1926 Chester Williams Building — now also home to 88 luxury apartment units.
With all the construction fencing and coverings removed from the exterior of the store, pedestrians passing by can easily peek inside the 14,000 square foot store. Shelves were still empty waiting to be stocked, but it was apparent the store will take on the appearance of Walgreens’ newer design concept with splashes of artwork and brighter colors on the walls akin to the flagship store at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood. I am hoping the more austere looking 7th/Hope store — which opened in May 2010 before Walgreens’ implemented their new look — will eventually get a remodeling job with this updated design.
Funny enough, both Walgreens in downtown are across the street from Rite Aid drugstores. Unfortunately, Rite Aid has apparently not responded to the community’s concerns over the less-than-stellar conditions at 5th/Broadway, which has been a “problem intersection” with being overly gritty/seedy, and at one point, rampant with illicit drug activity.
In fact, shopping at this Rite Aid has been a subpar experience for many downtowners who feel that the drugstore chain has been completely out of touch with the evolving downtown community by not offering merchandise relevant to the new residents of downtown. To make matters worse, many products, from condoms to toothbrushes, are locked up behind window cases. Everyone is hoping that Walgreens, which apparently will not be selling alcohol, will help improve the intersection at 5th/Broadway.
The new Broadway Walgreens store will open earlier and close later than their Financial District location. The store hours will be 6 am to midnight Mon thru Fri and 8 am to midnight on Sat and Sun. For comparison, the Financial District location closes by 11 pm on weekdays and 10 pm on weekends.