NORTH SMITHFIELD â€“ What was once the popular Mezza Luna Pizzeria in an aging commercial building at 7 Eddie Dowling Highway is now partially hidden by a chain link safety fence awaiting an expected date with the wrecking ball.
The former pizzeria site and a nearby closed Mobil gas station will be giving way to a new Walgreenâ€™s Pharmacy at 1 Park Square over the next few months, according Robert Ericson, town planner.
Bohler Engineering, planning contractor for Arista Development of Norwood, had the pizzeria building lot and the lot for the former Mobil station combined into one property under an administrative subdivision joining the lots. The company subsequently won Planning Board approval for the location of a 40,800-square-foot store at the property bordering the Stop & Shop store at Park Square, according to Ericson.
The project had been delayed by the need to negotiate easements for the portion of the Walgreenâ€™s site running into the frontage of the Stop & Shop parking lot along Eddie Dowling Highway and Smithfield Road, Ericson noted.
The easements allowing Stop & Shop continued use of property it leases at the location were needed for the project to move forward to the next step of development, according to Ericson.
â€śI think they are ready to go,â€ť Ericson said of the expected start of clearing work at the two commercial properties that will be completed before work starts on the new Walgreenâ€™s.
The new store will be constructed with a full Energy-Star conservation rating and also feature a drive-through for the pharmacy operation, Ericson said. The new store would be located on approximately two acres of the land under the combination of the commercial lots and require some retaining wall construction for the back graded portion of the property, Ericson said.
While demolition work has not yet started, Ericson said the project should be moving forward through the summer.
â€śMy guess is that they will have it open at the end of October or November,â€ť he said.