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Our View: It’s time for action on Batavia Walgreens plan

Published: Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 11:33 a.m. CDT

A decision nearly three years in the making appears likely to be made soon – Batavia officials will decide whether to give Walgreens the green light to move from its current location to an expanded location within the same shopping center.

It’s time for an answer here.

What’s in it for Walgreens? The new location would be larger – growing from 12,650 square feet to 14,500 square feet. There would be a drive-thru added, which would help the store’s pharmacy sales. The Batavia Walgreens doesn’t currently have a drive-thru.

And then there is the tax increment financing. Under the proposal, developer Batavia Enterprises would receive $450,000 from the city as the project moves forward, and another $693,000 that would be paid out over 12 years if the project generates enough to cover it.

There are reasons that the project has taken some time. Because the property has poor soil, the new building would have to be built on concrete caissons or piers, at an estimated cost of $275,000. Also, a large storm drain line, which runs through the city-owned portion of the property, would have to be moved, at a cost of $300,000.

What’s in it for Batavia? The Walgreens store is important to city residents. Officials would have a hard time allowing the store to simply disappear. The vacancy would be noticeable.

It’s been nearly three years since the proposal first was made. It’s not uncommon that a store such as Walgreens would want to make such a move. And while it’s understandable that officials would want to be careful about such a commitment, Batavia should seize the opportunity now to drive home a business-friendly attitude.

There is merit to being deliberate, but then there is a time for action. That time has arrived.

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