The wreckers have just about wrapped up demolition of the old Sentry Foods site, as well as the adjoining Ben Franklin store (I think that's what it was; the place was closed before I ever came to Milwaukee.) The photos below are from a couple of weeks ago, when some of the latter building was still standing, but they get the point across: this is an enormous site.
It is infuriating to think that nothing but a Walgreens is going to go on this very large, very lucrative site. Even with a large store, it seems obvious that a huge parking lot is going to be filling the leftover space.
At last, those poor UWM students won't have to cross the impenetrable barrier of Locust Street to reach a Walgreens. Boy howdy, that's progress!
Now, I'm not totally opposed to the idea of a Walgreens here. What if they did something like this?
That's the 1938 Walgreens, still in business, on Canal Street in downtown New Orleans. That astonishing neon ensemble makes it a tourist attraction, and a place where I happily spent my dollars on a previous visit to the city. The scale is perfect for Oakland Avenue, and the style? It's impeccable!
Somehow, though, I have a sneaking suspicion that we aren't going to get that.
More details on the former plans at OnMilwaukee.com.
Edit: Boy, talk about a post being a day late. An evening constitutional took me past the site just now; it turns out that footings have already been poured for the new Walgreens building.
It sits on the northern half of the cleared lot, separated from the apartment building next door by about an alley width. It does indeed come out to the sidewalk -- kudos for that. This leaves the southern half of the lot as a parking lot, and while that kinda sucks, at least the design leaves enough space for something more appropriate to the site, such as a building. After all, parking lots can be easily torn out.