BY SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writer
Walgreens at 300 University Ave. in Palo Alto will permanently close on June 9, the company said today (May 13), leaving a major vacancy in the once thriving downtown area.
“That is terrible,” commented Mayor Adrian Fine when the Post asked him about the closure. He said a pharmacy is a useful store to have on Palo Alto’s main street.
Councilwoman Liz Kniss said Walgreens has been on University Avenue for so long it has become an institution. She said the store sells everything including liquor.
“It’s sad that it’s going,” Kniss said.
She said she thinks it is reasonable to guess COVID-19 has something to do with the shutdown.
Commerical landlord John McNellis, who is not Walgreens’ landlord, said the loss will be a “blow” to Palo Alto.
“It’s one of our few key anchor tenants that’s neither food nor home furnishings,” he said.
The building opened in 1900 and originally was home to the Palo Alto Furniture Company, according to the Palo Alto History website. In 1924, it became a JC Penney store and, in 1973, Penneys was replaced by Walgreens. Over the years, the building had several additional tenants including Subway sandwiches and the Mercury News.
A four-alarm arson fire destroyed the building on July 1, 2007. It was replaced by the current three-story, 37,500-square-foot building in 2009.
The closure is part of a 200-store shutdown across the country, which represents about 3% of total Walgreens stores.
Walgreens spokeswoman Alexandra Brown sent the Post a statement confirming the closure and the next steps for customers and employees.
The company will transfer the store’s prescription files to the Midtown Walgreens store at 2605 Middlefield Road. Pharmacy customers will receive a letter about the store’s closure.
Most of the store’s employees will be transferred to other Walgreens, according to the statement.