Pedestrians walk past the closed Ojos Locos sports bar and restaurant at 515 Houston St. Tuesday (Sept. 26, 2017) in downtown Fort Worth. A two-story CVS Pharmacy is scheduled to open at that location by early next year. Gordon Dickson gdickson@star-telegram.com
Pedestrians walk past the closed Ojos Locos sports bar and restaurant at 515 Houston St. Tuesday (Sept. 26, 2017) in downtown Fort Worth. A two-story CVS Pharmacy is scheduled to open at that location by early next year. Gordon Dickson gdickson@star-telegram.com

Fort Worth

A drugstore is coming to downtown Fort Worth, and it will be different

By Gordon Dickson

gdickson@star-telegram.com

September 27, 2017 01:41 PM

The heart of downtown Fort Worth will have its first drugstore in more than 16 years with the arrival of a CVS Pharmacy just south of Sundance Square.

CVS will open by early next year in the former location of the Ojos Locos sports bar and restaurant, said Farukh Aslam, whose Fossil Creek Land Partners Inc. owns the building at 515 Houston St.

And it will be no ordinary pharmacy. The store will be an urban-design, two-story location with an emphasis on health and fitness products and travelers’ needs.

“It will be one of the few two-story CVS locations in Texas,” Aslam said, adding that the company has up to five months to complete renovations. “They are going to carry some high-end, unique products for the travelers staying at all the hotels in the area. And then downstairs, it will be a pharmacy.”

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Officials from the Rhode Island-based corporate headquarters of CVS Health could not be immediately reached for comment. The company operates about 9,700 pharmacies nationwide.

CVS will be the first pharmacy within easy walking distance of Sundance Square since Eckerd Drug closed its location at 611 Houston St. in 2001.

Walgreens operates a pharmacy at 921 Henderson St., on the western edge of downtown, about seven-tenths of a mile from Sundance Square.

Serving downtown

In addition to catering to travelers, CVS will offer prescriptions, toiletries and other products to the thousands of Fort Worth residents who work and play in the central city.

About 46,215 people work downtown, according to Downtown Fort Worth Inc. Another 7,612 people live downtown — many in the growing number of high-rise multifamily buildings. Also, downtown has 2,522 hotel rooms.

Workers are busy converting the former Ojos Locos sports bar and restaurant into a two-story CVS Pharmacy Tuesday (Sept. 26, 2018) in downtown Fort Worth.
Gordon Dickson gdickson@star-telegram.com

A $1.2 million remodeling of the former Ojos Locos is underway. This week workers could be seen moving the sport bar’s furnishings out of the structure.

Ojos Locos officials did not return calls and messages seeking comment.

As recently as April, Rich Hicks, CEO of Reach Restaurant Group, insisted the Latin-themed sports bar had a lease until 2025 and intended to stay in downtown Fort Worth.

Ojos Locos has seven other Texas locations, including space recently leased at a former El Fenix at 1620 E. Copeland Road in Arlington, near AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park.

Remodeling underway

Rumors of CVS’ interest in downtown Fort Worth have been floating around since January, when a permit was filed with a state review office to build a drugstore. Construction is expected to cost about $1 million, according to the filing.

More recently, a second permit was filed for an additional $250,000 of improvements at the address, known as the Sanger Brothers Building, although it was unclear if that work was directly related to the arrival of CVS. That work would include renovations to a basement, ground and mezzanine levels and construction of an enclosed stairway to take the place of an existing open stairway.

Furnishings are being removed from the former Ojos Locos sports bar and restaurant Tuesdday (Sept. 26, 2017) in downtown Fort Worth. A two-story CVS Pharmacy is planned for that location.
Gordon Dickson gdickson@star-telegram.com

The Sanger Brothers Building, which dates back to 1925, features eight stories plus a mezzanine and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building originally housed Sanger Brothers Department Store, and later a Lerner’s Store, a Meacham’s Department Store and the Color Tile Company.

The state filing for the new CVS location was made by Hurst-based Genesis Design Group. The firm has designed 15 stores for CVS and completed 15 conversions of Eckerd locations when the retailer acquired the drugstore chain, according to its website.

It’s not yet known precisely how CVS intends to design the interior, but recently the company has generated buzz by rethinking how it uses floor space. The company has changed its entryways and walkways to enhance exposure of skin creams, smoking cessation products and other health care items as well as juices, nuts, vegetables and other healthy snacks.

The changes have been rolled out at 150 stores nationwide, according to the industry publication Chain Drug Review.

A new CVS that recently opened in Westlake’s Entrada development near the intersection of Texas 114 and Davis Boulevard features the unorthodox entryway and walkway pattern.

This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796, @gdickson