Investing in real estate has always been a good idea for slow and steady growth. But recently, a new property trend has been developing. Pharmacy property has become an attractive real estate investment. The recent sale of one such property in New Jersey exemplifies this. In this article, we will take a closer look at this specific sale, explore the background of the companies involved, and explain why becoming a pharmacy franchise owner is a great opportunity now.
The Timeline Leading to This Sale
The property in question is two parcels of land located at 143 Route 303 and 1-7 Celola Way in Valley Cottage, a hamlet of Clarkstown, New York, a stone’s throw from New Jersey. It was originally the property of DK Celola LLC which sold it in January 2021 to First BTS Valley Cottage LLC. The purchase price at the time was $5.75 million. The property, which became a single parcel, was desirable simply because it is situated just north of the Lake Ridge Plaza shopping center.
First BTS Valley Cottage LLC recently sold the site for $14.3 million to AJM Clifton LLC of Lodi, New Jersey. AJM Clifton principal Anthony Marino is the founder and CEO of JMP Holdings. JMP Holdings is a general contracting and construction management company that specializes in commercial, institutional, industrial, and healthcare projects. Most of the properties the company owns are in New Jersey. This is their first purchase in New York.
A Delayed Sale and Lawsuit
First BTS Valley Cottage LLC had originally tried to sell the property several years ago. However, the owner of the Lake Ridge Plaza, GBR Valley Cottage, held up the sale with litigation over a right-of-way. The suit was filed in New York Supreme Court and was against the Zoning and Planning Board of Clarkstown. Also named in the court action were the property developer, the former owner of Celola’s Oil Change, and CVS pharmacy.
The suit was intended to halt the demolition of existing buildings on the property which would be followed by the construction of a CVS Pharmacy. The location of the CVS was proposed at the time to be just north of the Lake Ridge Plaza shopping center. The concern about that stemmed from the fact that the shopping center housed a Rite Aid Pharmacy. Competition between the two national drug store brands was part of the incentive for the litigation.
The Lawsuit Failed
Following a review of GBR Valley Cottage’s concerns, the Court issued a 47-page opinion. It supported the Town of Clarkstown Zoning and Planning Board. The Court found that the municipality complied with the law. The decision meant the buildings on the property were demolished and a CVS Pharmacy built. The new CVS filled the property at 12,016 square feet, including a drive-through. The rest of the property contains sixty parking stalls.
More About First BTS Valley Cottage LLC
The parent company of First BTS Valley Cottage LLC is First Hartford Corporation. First Hartford Corporation has extensive experience in pharmacy-specific construction. The company has completed over 250 CVS projects and is considered the preferred developer for CVS Pharmacy in the region. The company typically completes a project and sells the property within twelve months of completion of a CVS Pharmacy build.
Although CVS has indicated recently that the company plans to close several of its existing pharmacies, First Hartford Corporation has not stopped building new CVS projects in Rockland County, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut. According to CVS, the pharmacy giant will be closing about 900 locations over the next three years. That equates to roughly 10 percent of their total locations. The chain continues to rebrand as a health care service provider.
Why CVS Is Changing
Online competition has hit CVS hard. This forced the company to explore diversification which led to the rebranding of specific locations as Healthhub stores. The Healthhub concept includes a focus on health products and clinical services. The company has put a plan in place to deal with the jobs lost from store closures, stating, “The company is committed to offering impacted colleagues roles in other locations or different opportunities as part of its overall workforce strategy.”
CVS Has a Closure Strategy
CVS is not randomly closing outlets; rather, it’s using a strategy. According to T. J. Crawford, a CVS spokesperson, the company will base closures on “a number of factors” and they will include such considerations as “local market dynamics, population shifts, and store density.” Crawford adds that healthcare needs in underserved communities will also determine if a store stays put.
Why Pharmacy Property is a Good Investment
There are several benefits to investing in pharmacy properties. They typically come with long-term leases that stretch to periods of between 20 and 25 years. With long lease periods, the risk of defaulting on rent is reduced considerably, as is the possibility of the property being abandoned and sitting empty. Pharmacies are also usually situated in high-traffic locations in the center of downtown cores or along busy streets or highways.
As reported by Pharma Property Group, the aging population across the country means the demand for healthcare services will continue to be a priority. This means pharmacies will experience a solid and growing customer base. Plus, with a single tenant net lease (STNL) structure, the responsibility for many landlord-related items such as insurance, repairs, maintenance, property taxes, and build-outs falls on the shoulders of the tenant.
Although CVS is looking to downsize the number of pharmacies it has across the country, there is still value in having a franchise as an investment. With the recent sale of one location near New Jersey in Clarkston, New York for over $14 million, the time is right to look at pharmacy properties as a solid addition to your property portfolio. With CVS rebranding some of their outlets, they are preparing for the future making the investment more attractive.