Architect Shawn McAllister appeared before the Architectural Review Board on Sept. 13, seeking approval for new side and rear doors for a proposed Ace Hardware in the former CVS building at 940 High St.

Architect Shawn McAllister appeared before the Architectural Review Board on Sept. 13, seeking approval for new side and rear doors for a proposed Ace Hardware in the former CVS building at 940 High St.

Board members were vocal and descriptive about the city's lack of trust in CVS, which owns the building.

Doors are not enough, they said. They asked McAllister to tell his client that they must be convinced of an intent to do the right thing before any proposal is approved.

"You are not in the most advantageous position in the city of Worthington right now," Scott Myers said.

He briefly reviewed the relationship between CVS and the city and how it has deteriorated over the past five to seven years.

"There is probably zero trust between CVS and the city right now," Myers said. "We don't trust your client."

Myers represents Worthington City Council as a nonvoting ARB member. He was on the board during hearings on the new CVS building several years ago and was part of council's Sept. 10 unanimous denial of a proposal to build two one-story commercial buildings on the south part of the CVS property.

CVS had promised two-story buildings as part of its original proposal for the new store at the southeast corner of North and High streets. Several council members remarked that CVS never intended to build the two smaller buildings, agreeing to the plan only to gain approval of the city.

Formerly in the building at 940 High St., CVS purchased and demolished the popular Jubilee Foods and built the new CVS in its place.

During construction, the city called emergency meetings when it had become apparent that building plans were not being followed. Instead, the building was constructed several inches below ground level.

Myers and other city leaders have said CVS paid a large amount of money to purchase the old site and the Kinko's next door because it did not want Walgreens to buy the property.

It has been repeated several times, but is unsubstantiated, that CVS had refused to lease the vacant portion of the building to any business that would compete with CVS. Such a limitation would prevent a grocery store from moving into the site.

Worthington residents want a grocery store to locate downtown, according to city surveys and questionnaires.

Similar limitations, along with an agreement to not build second-story apartments, were part of the lease agreement on the south portion of the lot, according to Rick Kessler.

Kessler owns the southern property and leased back from CVS the lots south of the new store. He told council he did not want to see the lots remain empty.

Council rejected his bid to build the proposed two buildings without the second-story apartments, which had been part of the original approved CVS plans.

In an interview following the ARB meeting, McAllister said he did not know about the bad blood between the city and CVS.

He knows now.

"We have a community that is not happy right now, and we're going to hold all the leverage we can," ARB member James Sauer told McAllister.

A hardware store is a permitted use, according to the city's zoning code, but the ARB wants to see plans for the overall redevelopment of the vacant building before it issues any approvals, members said.

Approving doors on the side and rear of the building seems insignificant when what is needed is a complete upgrade of the site, Sauer said.

"We want to see what the entire building looks like at the end of the day," board member Mikel Coulter said.

Myers ended the discussion by again clarifying the message being sent to the architect by the ARB.

"If I were you, I would accept this tabling," he said. "It's going to be voted down."