One of Killeen’s busiest retail corridors — between Trimmier Road and W.S. Young Drive on Lowes Boulevard — is running out of space, which may drive corporate retailers to new parts of the city to open up shop.
The busy corner of Trimmier Road and U.S. Highway 190 — across the street from Walgreens — will soon see a CVS pharmacy, now under construction. The 13,000-square-foot retail pharmacy plans to open in September.
After a recent conversation with a former CVS developer, John Crutchfield, president of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, said the new store will have to compete with three nearby pharmacies.
“With the advent of CVS, Walgreens and H-E-B, (the developer’s) statement was, that there will be more prescriptions sold at that intersection than any in the state,” Crutchfield said. “I don’t know if that’s true, but it is indicative of the fact that it is a very robust retail area.”
Most corporate stores, such as CVS, base the placement of their stores on studies of demographics and traffic.
Crutchfield said CVS spent around $4 million for its new store and knocked down other businesses, including a Midas and a Baymont Inn and Suites hotel.
Mike DeAngelias, spokesman for CVS, said the high visibility and traffic at the location will make the CVS profitable in spite of the proximity to competitors.
“It’s not uncommon for the competing stores to open up on opposite corners of an intersection,” DeAngelias said. “The fact that we’re interested in similar attributes — easy access, high visibility — makes that a common occurrence.”
Trimmier Road project
The area also will see greater mobility with a transportation project — currently under design by the city of Killeen — to expand Trimmier Road and add a new street parallel to Lowes Boulevard on the north side of Lowes Creek.
Preliminary plans indicate the addition of a middle turn lane on the current five-lane stretch of Trimmier Road, between the Bank of America and U.S. 190.
“The Lowes Boulevard corridor is going to benefit greatly from the Trimmier Road expansion,” Crutchfield said.
New retail corridor
After years of maximizing occupancy of the limited U.S. 190 real estate, prices for lots on the major highway into Fort Hood have increased.
“Real estate is very high along U.S. 190 in Killeen and Harker Heights because there’s not much more of it left,” Crutchfield said.
For several years, the Killeen Walmart has been one of the top-five performing Walmarts in the U.S., in terms of sales per square foot, he said. But developers are starting to look elsewhere.
“We’re starting to see development along (State Highway) 195, because of the traffic and the density along Lowes Boulevard,” Crutchfield said.
The Killeen Economic Development Corporation — also headed by Crutchfield — is working with three large grocery stores and one moderate-sized grocery store interested in building in Killeen, Crutchfield said.
Killeen does not have a major grocery store west of the Trimmier Road H-E-B, which means residents from all over west Killeen have to travel to Trimmier Road to purchase groceries.
Many retail centers, such as the Lowes Boulevard retail corridor, are created first by a large anchor store like Walmart or H-E-B, and later by other stores hoping to pick up on the traffic.
“Sooner or later somebody is going to do a development on (Texas 195), and when that happens, you’re going to see the floodgates open up down there,” Crutchfield said.