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Posted on Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

Walgreens snaps up former Borders store in Birmingham: What about downtown Ann Arbor?

By Lizzy Alfs


Would Walgreens be interested in the space formerly occupied by Borders’ flagship store in downtown Ann Arbor?

Melanie Maxwell |

As many former Borders buildings in Michigan sit vacant following the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and liquidation, at least one former Borders store in Michigan could become a Walgreens drugstore.

Illinois-based Walgreen Co. wants to convert the former Borders in Birmingham into a drugstore and office building, Crain’s Detroit Business reported yesterday.

New York-based Related Property Corp owns the two-story, 34,000-square-foot space on Woodward Avenue.

The move — and Walgreens' tight ties to the landlord that controls downtown Ann Arbor's former Borders store — raises the question: Would Walgreens be interested in the downtown property?

Walgreens, which does not have a presence in downtown Ann Arbor, did not respond to requests seeking comment.


The Walgreens on Jackson and Maple roads in Ann Arbor was constructed in 2010.

Lon Horwedel |

But with the 42,000-square-foot former Borders store sitting vacant on East Liberty and Maynard streets - located just down the street from the new CVS Pharmacy - the space doesn’t seem out of the picture for Walgreens.

For years, downtown Ann Arbor lacked a major corporate pharmacy.

Then, in March 2011, CVS Pharmacy opened a downtown store on South State Street, following an $8 million construction project behind a historic facade.

As competing national chains, Walgreens and CVS are constantly fighting for market share — and CVS is currently securing a foothold in downtown Ann Arbor with Walgreens nowhere to be found.

Walgreens is the largest drugstore chain in the country with more than 7,770 stores and a plan to grow its store base by approximately 3 percent in fiscal 2011, according to its website. CVS follows close behind, with about 7,300 stores nationwide.

Michigan-based Agree Realty Corp., which owns a controlling interest in the former downtown Borders space, has an established relationship with both drugstores.

Agree also controls the Ann Arbor property on the corner of Jackson and Maple roads where a Walgreens was constructed in 2010.

The company deals mostly with large national tenants, and according to its most recent quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Agree’s top three tenants are Walgreens, Kmart and CVS. As of Sept. 30, 34 percent of its annualized base rent came from Walgreen Co., according to the filing.

Michael Lippitt of Landmark Commercial Services, the listing broker for the downtown Borders space, declined to comment on efforts to market the property.

In September, Lippitt told he was in discussions with a possible tenant, and had received a legitimate letter of intent that was being reviewed.

The listing has the property separated into three potential spaces: the 18,683-square-foot first floor, the 18,236-square-foot second floor and the 6,311-square-foot basement.

According to the Walgreens website, the average size for a typical Walgreens is about 14,500 square feet.

The annual asking rate for the downtown Ann Arbor former Borders store ranges between $18 and $35 per square foot.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Jerome Blue

Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

Ann Arbor never made it into the 21st century. Sorry, but true.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:58 p.m.

U of M will buy this property for an "undisclosed" amount and take yet another property of the city tax rolls. Then city council will find a way to increase property taxes so they can provide city services for folks who don't pay property taxes all while denouncing a city income tax as not being "viable".


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

A Trader Joe's would be nice. (I like Trader Joe's more than Whole Foods). Last spring, I visited Boston, and there was a Trader Joe's in a similar type of urban shopping area, so it's possible.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

Whole Foods is a GREAT option and quite frankly might be the only business that could hold down that space and location. A NICE department store would also be fantastic but none of them want to take the risk considering the many retail businesses that have closed& the ones who are still here are suffering miserably despite the success stories they'll lie to you about. They are losing money each day just to save face of failure. Dept Stores need a viable community to support the high rent costs, sorry but Ann Arbor simply isn't it anymore. Whole Foods serves everyone& is simply a neccesity to help revitalize the newly depressed area. NO more restaurants, NO more drug stores, NO more apartment buildings, NO more coffee shops!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 9:04 a.m.

A trader Joes would fit, they must like hard to reach stores. Look at the busy area they are now in.

Dug Song

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

It would never happen here, but I wish we had an entire block like <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> in Providence for a &quot;free culture&quot; community arts space (/restaurant/performance space/hackerspace/studios/...): <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Imagine Neutral Zone + All Hands Active + SPUR Studios + Yellow Barn + Forth From Its Hinges etc. glommed together and you get the idea.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

Fantastic idea Dug. I vote for turning the space over to Dug to manage!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:22 a.m.

Why not just tear it down and build some more luxury apartments?


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 10:27 p.m.

Seriously? If they put a Walgreens in that space downtown I'm moving. I've had enough of the lame new stores and restaurants downtown. Squares, @burger (thankfully they didn't last) 7Eleven, Bongz n' Thongz, etc. Come on Ann Arbor, you can do so much better.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 10 p.m.

In all seriousness, I would love to see a Whole Foods there. I think it would revitalize that area and it would cater to all (both students and non-students). Ann Arborites obviously love to shop there, so why not add another one to the mix. Most big cities have a Whole Foods downtown, so this locale is ideal. Plus, there is a parking structure nearby for convenience. I believe this would draw the most people morning, noon, and night!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

Actually many students like Hellers better. Also a really good Asian groceries and supplies might be great!


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

There is no way a whole foods will work there - we might like that option but it will cannibalize both their other locations. Washtenaw and S. Main St stores are no more than a mile away, plus there is the parking issue. Asking for a whole foods there is just like asking for another drug store. Besides all that, I'm concerned about all the LOCAL businesses. A whole foods in that space will hurt all the smaller markets in the downtown area - Sparrow, Whites, the new one at Tower Plaza, the soon to be opened market at 411, Coop, etc... I think it could be a department store with all the new building in the area. A big name gym like Lifetime would work well.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

IMO Ann Arbor isn't &quot;big city&quot; enough like other downtowns that have a Whole Food - simply not enough people. I think the pain-in-the-neck parking would also be a drawback. Students wouldn't shop there ($$$). Walgreens using part of the space makes sense - national chains love to set up shop near one another and compete for customers.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

Actually, not to far fetched. they put a retail health clinic in there and they can do some good business with the student population.


Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 11:49 p.m.

In case you didn't know, the students use something called University Health Services. It goes by &quot;UHS&quot; for short.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

If anyone thinks that Walgreens can be and anchor in Ann Arbor, then Ann Arbor has reached an all time low.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

I'm hoping for something like Crate &amp; Barrel or Pottery Barn.

Randy Parrish

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

It could happen, with all the building going on, new dorms, the city trying to brainwash everyone to becoming pedestrians. Being a downtown merchant myself I notice many students do not want to travel to the malls or take a bus, they are essential a land locked population!


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

Lizzy, Is this article solely your &quot;analysis?&quot; Did you share your idea with anyone? Have you been downtown lately? Do you realize there's a CVS Pharmacy a few feet away from the old Borders' space? You must, because you mention it in this....analysis... Obviously Walgreens &quot;did not respond to requests seeking comment&quot; -- they probably shared a good laugh around the office upon hearing your incredibly far-fetched guesswork. The trail of real estate mumbo jumbo you follow between Agree Realty, Walgreens, and Landmark is far-reaching speculation/gossip at best. There is absolutely no way this will happen, and your analytical writing will probably be better utilized in advertising Bongz &amp; Thongz' winter holiday offerings.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

Gee whiz...lighten up Francis...don't let this article ruin your day.

John of Saline

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

I know it would never happen but what about a department store? Jacobson's was great there.

dading dont delete me bro

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

walgreens is too high class for ann arbor.

angry bird

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

Related Companies = Stephen Ross = Ross business school --- all the same

Roy Munson

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

Who in their right mind is going to drive down here, hasssle with finding a place to park, pay way too much for it, have to dodge crackheads and dealers, dodge panhandlers, and worry about their cars being broken into just to shop at Walgreens and CVS??? And these restaurant owners and other shop owners are wondering why foot traffic is down?


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : midnight

I agree 100% Roy, that's why it'll end up in U of M's hands.

Peter Baker

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.

Please no. We need something there that will actually draw people to the area, not just something to compete with something already there.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

If you want to draw businesses to Ann Arbor get rid of the DDA, hold our bizzare acting city council accountable for their crappy governence, boot Mayor Hiefjie out of office, and put city employees on notice that they work for the citizens, not the other way around.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.



Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

CVS, 7-Eleven and Walgreens all within a block of each other-what fantastic anchor stores for State and Liberty.