Demolition to begin soon to make way for downtown drugstore

A deal is expected shortly to bring a drugstore back to downtown Lexington.

A fence has been erected in anticipation of demolishing three buildings at Main and Vine streets near Midland Avenue, where it's expected a CVS will be built.

"We're very close to signing a lease with a national drugstore retailer," said Phil Holoubek, a minority owner of Main & Vine LLC, which owns the land. He declined to name the company, though CVS was the drugstore chain mentioned last year when plans were being pitched to the city.

Holoubek said the deal could be signed as early as next week, and demolition would start "fairly quickly."

The development and construction of the facility, which would follow, is being handled by Louisville's Joy & Associates.

The original plan for the land was a multilevel, mixed-use development to replace the former homes of Integra Bank, Heritage Antiques and The Button Hole. The development was planned to have apartments, and retail and office space, but the city balked at funding a parking garage on the site, citing budget woes.

The new plan is a one-story drugstore because the site could not accommodate more retail without additional parking, Holoubek said.

"As far as one-story uses, this is about as good as you can ask for, simply because it brings retail and grocery needs to downtown," he said, noting the drugstore plans to have an expanded line of groceries.

Downtown has been without a national drugstore chain since Rite Aid closed its small location at Main Street and Limestone in 2008.

Holoubek said just the fact that downtown is luring more national retailers is "a very positive sign for our city," citing the addition of Jimmy John's and Dunkin' Donuts at his Main & Rose development across the street. "Five years ago, national retailers weren't interested in downtown Lexington, and that trend has certainly changed."