Just two weeks after Walgreen’s completed its $4.4 billion acquisition of more than 1,900 Rite Aid locations around the U.S., the pharmacy giant is shutting down two Baton Rouge area Rite Aid locations this month and more are expected to follow.
The Rite Aid on Millerville Road in what was formerly the Miller Village Shopping Center is closing its doors Tuesday and has already shuttered its pharmacy, referring customers to a nearby location on O’Neal Lane.
The Rite Aid on Range Avenue in Denham Springs will follow with a closure later his month, says real estate broker Dottie Tarleton of Stirling Properties, who is representing Walgreen’s in Louisiana and helping find new tenants to take over its existing leases.
Though Walgreen’s hasn’t released a list of which of the roughly 30 Rite Aid locations in Louisiana—14 of which are in the Baton Rouge area—will eventually close, Tarleton has been told to expect more.
“Walgreens has 1,900 stores it needs to get rid of,” she says. “So you’re going to see more (for sale) signs go up.”
The Rite Aid on Millerville was the sole remaining retail tenant in the Miller Village Shopping Center, which was heavily damaged by the August 2016 flood. The other tenants were evicted following the flood and the development was converted into Cube Smart warehouse of storage units by its owner, Brookwood-Millerville LLC.
Tarleton says she doesn’t yet know what kind of tenant might be interested in the Rite Aid space. But broker Mark Hebert of Kurz & Hebert Commercial Real Estate, who represents Brookwood-Millerville, says his client will welcome a new retailer to the 15,000-square-foot space, which was originally developed as a K&B Drug Store in the early 1990s.
Hebert adds that more changes are in the offing for the former shopping center. Brookwood-Millerville has a purchase agreement on a vacant building on an outparcel of the development that formerly housed a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Once the deal closes, Hebert says the restaurant building will be torn down and the site put on the market.
“The Rite Aid closure will actually open better opportunities for us because we’ll be able to sell outparcel space fronting on Old Hammond Highway and Millerville,” Hebert says. “We couldn’t do that before because of a restriction in the Rite Aid lease that didn’t allow anything to block Rite Aid’s site-line visibility”
Even if a new tenant comes in, that restriction would no longer be in place, Hebert says.
“When one door closes another one opens,” he says.