It may not open for six months, but a new pharmacy is coming to the rear of the Hotel Traylor at 15th and Hamilton streets in Allentown.
The Lehigh One Pharmacy unanimously was approved Monday night by the city’s zoning hearing board.
“It fits the neighborhood; it’s a positive for the neighborhood,” said David Bodnar, owner of Hotel Traylor.
Nimesh Patel of Breinigsville, one of the partners in Lehigh One Pharmacy, said its newest location probably won’t open for five or six months because it still needs approval from the state’s pharmacy board.
Unlike the variety of merchandise offered in large chain pharmacies such as CVS, Rite-Aid or Walgreens, Patel said his retail stores strictly sell prescription drugs as well as some over-the-counter drugs.
Also during the meeting, the zoning hearing board approved a small addition for Volpe’s Sports Bar at West Tilghman and N. Lafayette streets.
The board also approved a variance so an old hotel at 1327-1331 Chew St. can continue allowing people to stay longer than 30 days.
But most of the meeting was spent on just one small project – a request for a variance by developer Bruce Loch to construct a two-unit dwelling on a triangular lot he owns on the northwest corner of Pennsylvania Street and Roth Avenue.
Five nearby residents and an apartment owner objected to Loch’s plan.
Patel’s Lehigh One Pharmacy will be at the southwest corner of the Hotel Traylor, next to the Traylor Mini-Mart.
A tattoo studio is on the other side of the mini-mart.
The pharmacy will be in about 1,500 square feet, largest of those three retail spaces on the south side of the hotel.
Zoning approval was required because the city’s zoning ordinance allows retail businesses at hotels to only have interior entrances, apparently strictly to serve hotel guests, but not exterior entrances.
The pharmacy will have only an exterior entrance, facing the parking lot on the south side of the building.
Zoning board chairman Dan McCarthy indicated Hotel Traylor pre-dates any city zoning ordinances. Bodnar said the south side of the building has had retail uses throughout the life of the hotel, which was built in 1917.
Hotel Traylor will be the fifth location for Lehigh One Pharmacy. The others include Lehigh Drugstore at 504 N. Seventh St. in Allentown and another along Cedar Crest Boulevard opposite Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township.
The retail space previously was occupied by New First Class Transportation, a limo company. Bodnar said First Class Transportation still is based in Hotel Traylor, but recently moved.
“They really didn’t need a retail-type location,” he explained, “so I was able to move them into the interior of the building; into a smaller, more affordable suite.”
Patel expects to have only two full-time employees, including a licensed pharmacist.
The pharmacy’s sign will only be illuminated when it is open. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Robert Volpe testified his family has owned Volpe’s Sports Bar at 1926 Tilghman St. since 1941.
Volpe got approval for the 315-square-foot addition, which will “square off” the front of the establishment.
He said it will improve the exterior appearance on the Tilghman Street side of the bar, which still will have an entrance.
The change also will give his servers better access to an outdoor patio area along Lafayette Street.