By KATHY CHANG
METUCHEN — The borough may see its first pharmaceutical chain — CVS Pharmacy.
“The land lease on the A&P [Wine & Spirits] was purchased by CVS,” said Mayor Peter Cammarano at a council meeting that was held on Sept. 6.
CVS Pharmacy is a subsidiary of the American retail and health-care company headquartered in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
Despite the news, Best Cellars/A&P Wine & Spirits located at 45 Pearl St. is still in operation until further notice, according to an employee, who said additional information would have to go through their headquarters at The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Inc.
In 2015, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Inc. announced that dozens of A&P and Pathmark locations would be closed in the near term “due to lack of interest and significant ongoing store operating losses.”
The company’s plan included selling 120 stores for approximately $600 million as it filed for bankruptcy.
At the time, the company had owned 296 stores under the brand names A&P, Best Cellars, Food Basics, Food Emporium, Pathmark, Superfresh and Waldbaum’s.
In 2007, A&P had purchased Best Cellars, a local wine retailer in the tristate area.
CVS Pharmacy Inc. and New Jersey CVS Pharmacy LLC was listed as the successful bidder at $1.25 million in court papers filed in August by Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, New York, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York. Martha T. Cole Inc. leased the building to The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Inc. in 1993.
Cammarano said the liquor license was purchased by another entity.
“We have not heard any information from either party on the liquor side of it,” he said.
As of Aug. 18, Cammarano said ABK Industries LLC was the listed buyer of the liquor license. However, on Aug. 22, the borough got another notice naming Forward Thinking LLC as the buyer.
The mayor said the information is unclear whether improvements would be done on the site. As of right now, CVS would move into the existing building, he said.
“[The CVS] is a permitted use in which that it is zoned for,” said Cammarano. “Because [A&P] was in bankruptcy, [the news of the purchase] kind of came out of left field for us … there’s nothing we could do to prevent this just like we couldn’t prevent any other shop coming into town if it is a retail use [on the site].”
The site is located in the newly formed Metuchen Downtown Alliance District.
Tyreen Reuter, executive director of the Metuchen Chamber of Commerce, said Metuchen has supported multiple businesses with similar customer bases since its commercial core began to develop more than 150 years ago.
“Considering the increased population anticipated downtown over the next several months, there is even more reason to expect that the replacement of the existing liquor store with a CVS will be a success,” she said.