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Eckerd To Keep Historic Buildings

May 17, 2000

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ One of the nation’s largest drugstore chains has agreed to preserve historic buildings rather than tear them down to make way for new stores.

Eckerd Corp., based in nearby Clearwater, Fla., agreed to no longer destroy buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and has backed off its plan to tear down an 1890s school in Albany, N.Y., to make room for a parking lot.

Eckerd Interim President John E. Fesperman gave his commitment to protect registered buildings in an April 26 letter, Peter Brink, vice president of programs for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, announced Tuesday.

During the past six months, Eckerd officials had canceled several meetings with the National Trust to even discuss the issue.

Other drugstore chains, such as Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS, have met with the National Trust and agreed to not tear down historic buildings.

The National Trust set out last year to secure agreements from the nation’s major drugstore chains to protect historic buildings as the chains aggressively pursue downtown properties for new locations.

Brink said he did not believe Fesperman knew that other Eckerd officials had canceled meetings and refused to return telephone calls.

``He (Fesperman) has been very apologetic for the fact that his staff would not meet with us, not communicate with us,″ Brink said. ``He said that’s not the way Eckerd should behave.″

In his letter to the National Trust, Fesperman wrote: ``We try very hard to be a good citizen of the communities in which we operate and have no intention of destroying such properties.″

Eckerd officials would not make themselves available for questions Tuesday.

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