Announced back in Nov 2013, a brand new CVS drug store opened yesterday (on Sunday) on the southwest corner of 7th and Spring in the Historic Core. Located on the ground floor of the historic 1912 Van Nuys building—containing 299 senior housing units above—the new 13,800 square foot CVS store already has a dramatic new effect on the immediate corner. It’s kind of weird and wonderful at the same time to see a brand new store open with lots of people going in and out of a space that was once empty and lifeless for so long. A large red CVS sign sits above the main front entrance facing 7th Street directly across from the Bartlett lofts. Although this is technically CVS’s second location downtown (another small, long-forgotten CVS store is located at the very sad LA Mall in the Civic Center), it really feels like the first one given that hardly anyone has seen or heard of the other one before.
One of the biggest concerns some downtown residents have is how the drug store will handle the sale of alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs given its close proximity to the Skid Row homeless population. It’s been a big problem for Rite Aid at 5th/Broadway, for instance. According to CVS executives at a recent DLANC (Downtown LA Neighborhood Council) meeting, there will be stricter measures implemented at this store with hopefully effective results. For example, an identification will be mandatory when purchasing prescription drugs where those who live significantly farther away from downtown will not be allowed to buy from the store. A full-time security guard will also be stationed by the front entrance.
In addition, another concern is the physical transparency of the store when it comes to being able to see inside from the outside and vice versa. Thank goodness the large beautiful windows will NOT be blocked. According to management I spoke to at the new store on Sunday, the only reason why the white roll down gates were closed a few weeks ago (blocking out all windows) was because CVS had not installed their alarm system yet. Now that it’s installed, only the actual doors—the main entrance on 7th Street and another emergency exit on Spring Street—will have interior roll down gates closed after business hours, which is currently from 7 am to 10 pm.
The store itself is what you would expect with a brand new CVS. It’s clean, well organized, and carries many of the everyday items residents of Downtown LA will find useful and necessary from food to pet needs to cosmetics to household cleaning supplies to greeting cards. Definitely a great addition to the growing neighborhood as more residents will continue to call Downtown LA’s Historic Core home.