CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — After several weeks of construction, the CVS Pharmacy project has made quite an impact on nearby residents and businesses in the Gateway subdivision.
“I’m looking out, watching every bit of it all day long. It’s dusty. It’s loud. But it’s just what happens,” said Shane Stewart of State Farm Insurance, 301 Gateway North.
“The rock, the dolomite, is off-the-charts difficult to deal with. I had to deal with it on my own property,” he said of the heavy equipment cutting into the rock on the site to prepare the foundation. “We’ve got some explosions in the afternoon, but the contractor has been amazing to do their best to notify us when blasting is going on.”
Before the start of construction, CVS officials spent time allaying fears of the Gateway Property Owners Association involving potential congestion, motorist safety and the footprint of the proposed business.
“They were finally able to overcome some hurdles with regard to the property owners association,” said Christian Fletcher, executive director of the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp.
“It’s property that’s been sitting vacant on the tax rolls. You put a structure on it, you’ll generate ad valorem tax value,” Fletcher added. “There will be sales tax generated. There will be jobs that come from that.”
In Marble Falls, CVS Pharmacy will join Atkin’s Pharmacy, Atkin’s Express, H-E-B Pharmacy, Wal-Mart Pharmacy and Walgreen’s to offer those types of services.
“It will be some competition, but apparently they looked at the market and felt comfortable enough that it was large enough to sustain what they wanted to do here,” Fletcher said. “Typically, you’ll see pharmacies locate near hospitals or with hospitals as they expand operations, so it’s not a surprise from that standpoint that the timing is what it is.”
Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Marble Falls — a 46-bed, 188,000-square-foot facility at 810 Texas 71 West — is scheduled to open its doors to the public Aug. 3.
“(The CVS) will certainly provide some convenience for the residents in that area. Those who live south of the lake (Marble Falls) in terms of not having those trips across the bridge down (U.S) 281 for a gallon of milk or necessities like that,” Fletcher said. “It’s a visible piece of property and should lead to additional development on the other corners of that intersection.”
In the meantime, nearby residents brace for more blasting, equipment noise and increased truck traffic hauling the so-called “blue rock” from the site for the next few months.
“They’re taking it all down the level it needs to be. I believe its 28 feet they’re cutting it down in the back,” Stewart said. “To build a first-class facility that CVS is going to be, that’s the right way to do it.”
From experience, Stewart understands removing the rock could become a costly proposition.
“Not everyone’s going to do it that way because it’s so expensive,” he said. “Fortunately, it’s going to be an amazing asset.”
Officials say a completion estimate by the end of the year has been moved from November to possibly sometime in January.
“It’s a challenging project. That’s why a lot of these lots south of the bridge haven’t been built on before,” Stewart said. “It’s a hard site to work on. It takes some patience and understanding to get it done. You can’t make progress without some pain.”