Chain drug store eyes Boyle Heights but faces opposition

Rendering from Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Walgreens recently opened a new Boyle Heights drug store on Cesar Chavez Avenue near Soto Street on the site of the former  Big Buy market.  But apparently you can never have enough chain drug stores in the same neighborhood. Rival drug store chain CVS wants to open an outlet only about two blocks away as part of a proposed shopping center at the corner of Cesar Chaves and Matthew Street on property owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  But some residents and the East Los Angeles Community Corp.,  nonprofit agency and developer, say the neighborhood has enough drug stores and organized a protest last month, according to L.A. Streetsblog. What do they want instead?

Here, according  Streetsblog are some alternatives suggested by residents :

Many of the residents expressed a need for a grocery store, and wanted areas that had recreational space, such as public benches and green space.

Last year, Metro’s Planning & Programming Committee recommended that the agency negotiate a development deal with JSM Construction and Polis Builders for the development of the nearly two-acre site into a shopping center with a CVS store, up to 7,000 square feet of additional food or retail space in addition to a 10 to 15 unit affordable apartment building.


  1. I witnessed that protest, if you dare call it that. 40 people does not a protest make in a community of over 90,000. ELACC had “professional organizers” plan this event and the owner of Ruiz Pharmacy was there claiming that it wasn’t about money but about the community. This family owned pharmacy has been at the corner of Chavez and Soto for nearly 60 years but what have they done for the community? Not one local sports team sponsored, not one community health fair held, not even extended hours in time of need. The only “community” action this pharmacy has ever taken is to put a Villaraigosa for mayor banner on their property, well, where’s the mayor now? If they truly were a community business you would think they would have more people protesting. This community needs jobs and like it or not, national retail chains bring jobs. Plus if Walgreens is competing with CVS, who wins? A low income community wins. There are plenty of other empty MTA lots to build a market, which is needed – 2 located at 1st and Boyle where a supermarket used to exist. If ELACC claims to be a community organization perhaps a revamping of their priorities is needed.

    • Non-Profit Organizations Lose

      Glad to see the tide is turning in Boyle Heights with real money and real jobs coming into the community I’ve lived in my whole life and have found that non-profit organizations like ELA Community Corp, TELACU, Boyle Heights Learning Collaborative, Inner City Struggle, and Proyecto Pastoral are very good at collecting grants and private funding but they are mediocre at generating real jobs, providing meaningful resources and providing real career opportunities for the Boyle Heightws community. My suspicion is that executive directors at these organizations earn well over $100,000. I say before we organize another protest of the proposed CVS location we should ask for and review the tax returns of the non-profit organizations like ELACC to make sure they are not smaller versions of mega non-profits like United Way who usualy spend more than 50% of their funding and grants on administrative costs which are mostly made up of salaries.

  2. Its time to get the large chain stores in this neighborhood and push out these overpriced local stores that have been gouging the people for years.

    • What? Have you tried the Lorena Pharmacy? It is a neighborhood gem. I’d rather support a small business than make shareholders rich

  3. F**k small drug stores every time I go there I spend about a half hour in line and everything is so expensive and markets, we have Super A, Food 4 less, Superior Whse, El super, Smart & Final Within a 2 mile radius, We need At least 3 major Drug Stores at Cesar Chavez And Soto.

    • Thank you Mr. J, as a homeowner and resident of Boyle Heights, I totally agree with you, and I am sure the community of Boyle Heights will support your comments. the Community of Boyle Heights needs to become active on decision of the planning for Boyle Heights, and stop ELACC in speaking for the community. ELACC is a developer that has monopolize Boyle Heights and now ELA, and now they feel they speak for our community, don’t they have what is call ‘CONFLIC OF INTEREST” and they pay their employees to demonstrate against other developerments. Is the American way to have competition, and we should have developer putting in bits for the developments. NOT JUST ELACC. The employees of ELACC do not livein Boyle Heights, and Maria Galbido definetely does not.

  4. Being a 20 yr resident of BH, it saddens me to hear folks speak so negatively of our small community businesses. Supporting big box retailers will kill our local jobs. Shame on all of you. I support ELACCs efforts to fight displacement of our community.

    • Kill local jobs? What local jobs. The mom and pops aren’t hiring. The small businesses cannot offer jobs to sustain a family. Shame on you for supporting ELACC’s “efforts” to fight displacement of our community – what does that mean? ELACC is mounting these protests because they didn’t get the housing contract. ELACC is building nothing but major apartment buildings to add to the high density rate in Boyle Heights – yeah let’s add more people, that will solve our job crisis.

    • Dan, sorry to explain that many of the small businesses in Boyle Heights do not belong to residents of Boyle Heights, and if you research the ownership you wilfind that a very small percentage is own by Latinos, and those latinos do not live in CD 14. There is a handfull of busineses that are own by employers and owners that participate in the well being of Boyle Heights, what happen to busineses promoting a sports team in the neighborhood? I have gone door to door to businesses to get contribution for sports teams in Boyle Heights, and the only people that contributed was from Latino own busineses. Calimaxs is not own my Latinos. So whos busineses are we protecting? and our those busineses own by responsible owners that participate in the community, we have a few businesses that give to the community so much, but is a hand full, one is Barrio Planners, La Parrilla, Frontinos Auto Shop, Cinco puntos, and a few more.

  5. From what I understand, the community organized under ELACC and beyond are asking Metro to take responsibility of the sites they own and the assets they displaced in the process of building the Goldline (a supermarket, affordable housing, and more), and that CVS just happens to be one portion of the site that is being underutilized and turned into a sea of parking.

    The community has been holding meetings, workshops, trainings, and charrettes over the past 5 years on urban planning and developed the following priorities (ALL of which are violated with this Chavez/Soto Metro project);

    – meaningful collaboration between developers and the community
    – no displacement
    – more affordable housing
    – economic development
    – for local small businesses and street vendors
    – creation of good paying local jobs

  6. Walgreens will not fill ExpressScripts due to a contractual conflict. Those covered by Blue Cross & others have had to move their prescriptions to other pharmacies. Choice is good.

  7. ELACC, East Los Angeles Community Corporation, should not, and has not right, to speak for the community of Boyle Heights, they are a developer, and they protest against other developers in Boyle Heights, conflict of Interest. Why is the community allowing this developer to have their employees protesting businesses that we need, Maria Galbido is out of control with taking over everything in Boyle Heights. I do give credit to ELACC for the renovation of the Cummings Hotel, is not the Boyle Hotel unless ELACC already change the name. It was the Cummings and Lopez family that own that area, their grandaughter were here about five years ago. ELACC has develope their own plan for Boyle Heights, make as much money as we can from Federal, state, and local government money, and pay their employees a good salary plus bonuses for protesting other developers, like the fifteen group, CVS and how many other projects have they kill. ELACC again took over a corner property on Biswick and Esperanza, presented a beautiful design for Senior Housing, with a garden for vegetable and fruit, the community was not to happy because of the density, and that this housing is never used for residents of Boyle Heights, they just bring more people into BH. However, we were just told, that that project of Beswick is not plan for Senior Housing as promised, now it will be housing for homeless, without notice to the neighborhing community or Boyle Heights community. We have had an overwhelming housing for people just out of prison, drug and alcohol in addition, and mental health issues set up in a residential street, causing choas for the homewoners, having strange people taking over the libraries, parks, and side walks and no assistance from the care takers that should be supervising this mental ill individuals. The BHNC just voted against the ordinance finally set up for Sober Living group homes, they voted to repeal the ordinance that would help this community tremendous, with at need to notify residents and getting a permit to have this type housing. This housing takes aways the services of our LAPD, LAFD, Parametics from a community thatis already in short staff in this areas. The Percy Village housing at one time had 150+ call to LAPD to respond, on rape, assault with a deadly wepon, missing patience, and more, this does not include the call to LAFD and paramedics. HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE A HOUSE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD LIKE THIS? Please let the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council that the compliance pass last year will help to locate this homes in the right setting. Please note that all these solber living arramgements are not used by the local people, but outsiders, mainley whites, that the West Side would not allow in their neighborhoods. We need to start thinking about this establishments of money makers for people outside our community, but destroying our community, what are the benefit for Boyle Heights. More density, not sufficent schools, not good schools, and bringing all the poor to one community is not right. We should demand Home ownership, mix income apartments, and if promised Senior homes, must keep that promise on contract to the community, where they would not be able to change in ten or fifteen years. Homeless are being moved to Boyle Heights, because they do not want them Downtown. The country needs to help homeless specially veterans, but not all in Boyle Heights, sharing is a good thing. Friends of Boyle Heights.

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