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CVS first to open store in new Auburndale mall

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In just a few weeks, CVS, the nationwide pharmacy chain, will open a store in a new two-story mall on Francis Lewis Boulevard in Auburndale.

Steve Woods, the director of leasing for Simone Development Company, the owners of the mall, said construction began about 18 months ago. CVS will be the main tenant on the first floor and Rockaway Bedding, a mattress store, has also signed an agreement to lease out other space on the same floor, he said.

A spokesman for CVS, headquartered in Woonsocket, R.I., did not return a message seeking comment by presstime. But several construction workers at the nearly completed pharmacy space said it was expected to open in as little as two weeks. CVS joins at least 20 other outlets of the chain in Queens.

St. Mary’s Hospital for Children in Bayside and Gilman & Cioccia, a national accounting firm, have also signed leases for space on the second floor, he said. There still is room available on both floors, each of which is 20,000 square feet in area, Woods said.

The mall, on Francis Lewis Boulevard near 194th Street, which was formerly a nursery, is the first project that Simone Development has undertaken in Queens. The firm, based in New Rochelle, N.Y., owns office space in Westchester County and as far away as Connecticut. In all, he said, Simone Development owns 6 million square feet of property in the tri-state area.

“This is our first step into Queens,” he said. “For no apparent reason, we stepped right over Queens.”

Beryl Williams, a spokeswoman for St. Mary’s, said the hospital’s homecare program is expected to relocate from its Bayside location to the mall in either late September or early October. The move, she said, is part of a plan to address concerns over traffic on 216th Street near the hospital. A portion of the hospital’s administrative services will also move into property in New Hyde Park, she said.

The homecare program sends workers to the homes of some 1,000 children each day, Williams said, providing them with nurses and social workers, among others. In addition to its outpatients, St. Mary’s Hospital is a 97-bed facility that specializes in rehabilitation and skilled nursing.

Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

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