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Former Tipton’s building sold to CVS Pharmacy

IRONTON — A piece of downtown property that has been underused for the past few years has gotten a new owner and is poised to get a new purpose.

RAC II, Ltd. sold the former Tipton’s grocery store property at 320 Jefferson St. to the CVS/Caremark pharmacy chain late last week.

RAC II President Bob Clyse did not disclose the purchase price but the Lawrence County Auditor’s Office listed the sale price at $1 million. The drug store chain also acquired adjacent property at 618 S. Fourth St. that is now the office of Dr. James Jankowski. The transfer was actually a trade. An office will be built for Jankowski at Fourth and Madison streets.

Jeffrey Albrecht, of the Portsmouth-based Hometown Development Group, said the existing building will be demolished and a new 13,225-square foot store will be built facing South Third Street.

“It will have a drive-through, a medi-clinic where people can meet with a nurse-practitioner. It will have cosmetics, groceries, cards, like get-well cards and birthday cards, and liquor,” Albrecht said.

RAC II purchased the property in 2004 after the grocery store closed.

“We weren’t making the best use of it,” Clyse said. “We had been using it for storage mainly. CVS contacted us two years ago about buying it. We started talking back and forth. They’re going to invest quite a bit of money in it.”

Clyse said he had had other inquiries about the property but none of them seemed like a good fit for Ironton.

Albrecht said work is focusing now on asbestos removal; he anticipates it will be late May or early June before construction begins on the new building. Plans are to have the new building completed by early fall.

Both Clyse and Albrecht praised city leaders, particularly Mayor Rich Blankenship, city council, Ironton Economic Development Director Bill Dickens and Ironton Port Authority President Paul Woods for their assistance in making plans become reality.

“Working with the mayor and city council has been a real joy,” Albrecht said. “Mayor Blankenship is a true professional and is a very candid kind of guy. He is probably the best mayor I’ve worked with and I’ve worked in about 25 cities. The city council was very professional, very organized, did an excellent job. And the people in the departments, they were all an excellent group of people to work with.”

Blankenship said he is glad to have CVS make this investment in the city.

“We had to jump through a lot of hurdles but we worked through them all. This will mean a new building for CVS. Obviously we’re glad to see new development in our downtown. It’s good for CVS and good for us. This is another step in the right direction,” Blankenship said.

“I’m very happy to be part of something positive,” Clyse said. “I feel Ironton has a lot to offer and people are pushing forward to a brighter future.”

Michael D’Angelis, spokesman for CVS was contacted for comment. He was not immediately available.