Welcoming Walgreens

The Planning Commission approved the plans but it probably won't be until spring that construction starts on Rohnert Park's first drive-thru pharmacy.

On September 27 of this year the Planning Commission approved plans for a Walgreens to be built within the Sonoma Gateway Center at the corner of Commerce Boulevard and Rohnert Park Expressway.

Locals are forgiven if they aren't familiar with the name of the center, it is more commonly known as 'that area behind the Black Bear Diner next to Motel 6'. The Walgreens store will provide a much needed boost for this shopping center.

Slowly but surely the Sonoma Gateway is working on a facelift starting with the Starbucks that is almost finished located right between Jack-in-the-Box and the Black Bear. Prior to that, the rear portion of the center had been redeveloped in prior years with two new buildings added.

When it was developed, numerous new stores flocked in to the two buildings located behind Jack-in-the-Box such as Del Secco's Gelato N' Sweets, Bear Buddies & Toys, and a Mexican grill among others.

But the economic downturn hit all of the tenants hard. Now all that is left is a Metro PCS store and Sushiko, a little known yet very tasty sushi restaurant. On Yelp, Sushiko carries a robust four-star rating. But there is hope that placing a larger tenant in will create a nice boost in customers.

How exactly is Walgreens going to fit into the existing layout? The plan is to demolish the building that runs parallel to Rohnert Park Expressway and build a 13,650 foot Walgreens complete with drive-thru window for the pharmacy. The other building that runs parallel to the freeway will remain. In fact, Sushiko has already posted a request to transfer their liquor sales permit on the other building in preparation of a move.

The Sonoma Gateway Center has never had an anchor store and it is hoped that the addition of Walgreens will provide much needed stability to this shopping area and revise interest from potential tenants to fill remaining empty stores in the center.

While the store seems like a good fit for that particular area, there are concerns about the necessity of the business. CVS is just down the street, Safeway and Raley's both have pharmacy options, and Target is relatively close by. CVS declined to comment on the possibility of adding such a close competitor down the street. Of course, a little competition never hurt anyone.

So what do you think Rohnert Park, is this a good addition to that area?

Design courtesy of Johnson Lyman Architects


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Sandy Murphey November 05, 2012 at 03:47 PM
It gives us yet another choice to keep our money in RPk. Walgreen's offers good prices on many things, along with a variety of items, and when I lived in Cotati, I went there once a week. Having it closer means I can make it part of my circular route I use to save a little gas.
Jake Mackenzie November 05, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Ironic- my recollection is that Walgreens was supposed to anchor Sonoma Gateway in the clock tower site but backed out which didn't exactly help the Del Seccos who'd been promised that foot traffic . As Mayor I'm glad they're coming but not happy that site lacked the anchor for so long!
Ernest Giono November 05, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I like Walgreen's. I do not like what CVS did to Long's because the first thing they did was raise prices. Walgreen's will be welcomed here.Their prices are good.
Wendy November 05, 2012 at 05:17 PM
seems dumb to have another walgreens when there is one a mile down the road - but then, starbucks is on every corner - and in sf there is a walgreens on every corner as well..but, yes, it would be nice to have an anchor store and get those empty building filled up....my business folded in 2008 because of the economy - seems to me the greedy landlords would do well to reduce their rents to get all the empty places filled up!
Mike Kane November 05, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Right on Jake! Any chance of getting an update on the Mountain Shadows Shopping Center anchor store? Someone posted on the Patch that the city was reviewing a proposal for high density housing there. I will let you confirm or deny those rumors. Thanks Jake. Your neighbor, Mike Kane
Mike Kane November 05, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Hi Wendy, I wish I understood the commercial real estate game better. It's always funny to see a site sit empty when you know there have been suitors trying to fill the space like the old Pacific Market. The property owners must still be getting paid on the old lease or something. Not sure what the business case is for the Sonoma Gateway as it was a new center that never filled up. They needed the write-off?
Reginald "Rex" Henderson November 05, 2012 at 10:13 PM
The choices of the city council and planning commission makes my head spin. Hey, Jake, when are we going to get a new supermarket at Mountain Shadows?
Reginald "Rex" Henderson November 05, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I doubt that we'll be getting an answer from Jake. He doesn't have to answer. After all, he did vote himself and two other council members into office by nullifying the election..
John Pecoraro November 06, 2012 at 02:14 AM
It just never ceases to amaze me. Seems that RP is in the 'duplicating' business. Walgreen's is a great store, but with the one in Cotati it doesn't make very good sense to me to build another one in RP. As for the Sonoma Gateway Center... the problem isn't knowing where it is --- the problem is getting into the center without getting into an accident! Coming from the North is easy, but coming from any other direction ingress becomes a full-blown nightmare. Oh well... at least it is something...
Gravis February 03, 2013 at 07:55 AM
Yes, that's a pretty bad location. I witnessed a couple of accidents at that intersection and someone almost hit my car!


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