WRITTEN BY: JULIANA VERHAGE | STAFF WRITER
As of Thursday, CVS Pharmacy has officially dropped its bid to acquire former Fresh & Easy location on Catalina Boulevard.
Mike Ryan, a local resident who has been a major voice of advocacy for the community against CVS taking over the location, received an e-mail from attorneys representing the landlord of the former Fresh & Easy location which officially stated that CVS has removed its bid.
According to Ryan, the attorneys wrote, “CVS has elected to terminate its right to purchase the Point Loma lease accordingly. The portion of the lease sale motion relating to the Point Loma lease is now moot.”
“As such, the agreed scheduling or- der is also moot. And no further hearing will be held under lease sale motion,” they said. While word has been out for over a week that CVS dropped the bid, February 11 marked the pull out as official.
Prior to this, a hearing was set some time this month to deal with legal issues between the bankruptcy courts and the landlord’s contracts. CVS purchased the location on Catalina Boulevard along with three other locations through the bankruptcy courts. But the landlord stated in his contract for the former Fresh & Easy location that the space must be occupied by a grocer.
Michael Saad, owner of the next door Point Loma Cabrillo Drug pharmacy, had in his contract a non-compete clause stating he could be the only one to own and operate a pharmacy in the shopping center.
The hearing will no longer happen because CVS decided to drop the bid.
Local community members have expressed excitement over this decision – especially Saad.
“I was very happy. Obviously, very happy,” Saad said. “The community came together very nicely. There was a wonderful reaction from the community.”
He, along with Ryan, believes that the local petition, which gained 2,871 supporters as of Friday, made a big difference.
“It’s nice because the community should be able to choose what kind of businesses and stores they have in their area” Saad said. “I think it made a difference directly with CVS. CVS realized that the community wasn’t happy with what they were doing.”
Ryan believes it was more than just the petition, which made a big difference
in CVS deciding to pull out its bid. “I think the combination of the media, the petition, the landlord fighting and the presentation to the Point Loma Community Planning board and the letter from them I think convinced the CVS attorneys that the community didn’t want it,” Ryan said. “I think they realized it could be a bad move for them financially and with public relations.” Ryan and Saad both said CVS drop- ping the bid is a hopeful first step towards getting a grocer in the location – especially for PLNU students who don’t have cars and have to take the shuttle or find other ways to get their groceries. Sophomore Fashion Merchandising Major Kate Bristol is one student who doesn’t have a car on campus. “I hope they put in a grocery like establishment. I think it would be any easy way to get food for cooking meals instead of going to the Caf every night,” said Bristol. Now that CVS is out, it is unsure what will happen or who will offer bids next.
“Everybody is anxiously awaiting something to come in,” Saad said. “Be- cause anybody that comes in has to do their part, get their lease sorted out and redo the store…We’re anxiously waiting now.”
Because there is no news yet of potential buyers, it could take months or even years for the replacement owner to come in and have the location fully operating.
Despite the current state of waiting, people like Saad and Ryan retain a sense of hope and excitement from CVS drop- ping its bid.
“Today, David wins over Goliath,” Ryan said.
photo by Commons.Wikimedia.org