ORLANDO-City planning board members say vocal and written protests by 50 merchants in Downtown’s Vietnam district didn’t affect their decision, but they nevertheless gave the protesters the victory they sought over CVS Corp., the largest drugstore chain in the United States.

The planning board rejected CVS plans for a 11,950-sf store and adjoining 5,000-sf office building because the project was too small for the southeast corner of east Colonial Drive and Mills Avenue. The project should be at least 25,000 sf to discourage sprawl at crowded Downtown corners, the board ruled.

At the same time, the city acknowledged it had erred in giving competitor Eckerd Drugs a green light two years ago to build a 15,000-sf store directly across the planned CVS site. CVS has not decided if it will appeal the planning board’s decision to the full city council.

Meanwhile, the Woonsocket, RI-retailer is going ahead with plans to open its first full-service, 10,380-sf Orlando area store in November on Conroy-Windermere Road at Dr. Phillips Boulevard in southwest Orange County.

Zaremba Group of Columbus, OH plans to buy the half block-long, one-acre site from Dinh Quach, an Orlando resident, for an undisclosed price, and lease the property to CVS.

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