A CVS Pharmacy planned for the northwest corner of Harlem Avenue and Cermak Road in North Riverside won’t open until spring 2011 at the earliest, because construction can’t begin until a former owner of the property cleans the site of all contaminated soil.

Dan McMillan, CFO of Rizza Auto Group, which owns the property, said that British Petroleum will clean up the former gas station site by Sept. 1. That will allow CVS to finally purchase the property from Rizza, which has had the 1-acre site on the market since January 2009.

“We’ll continue to proceed,” McMillan said. “You’d be amazed at what it takes to develop an acre.”

In the meantime, CVS representatives will appear before a joint meeting of the North Riverside Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20.

At the meeting, the company will ask the village to approve a partial rezoning of the property and seek zoning variations for parking and signage for the proposed CVS store.

According to plans on file at the village’s building department, CVS plans to build a 13,250-square-foot store with a two-lane drive-thru on the corner property. Access to the pharmacy will be available both from Harlem Avenue and Cermak Road, according to the site plan.

One main entry point will be on Cermak Road, west of Harlem Avenue at the stop light adjacent to both MB Bank and Kohl’s. According to McMillan, CVS and the bank have come to an agreement that will allow the construction of an east-west frontage road in front of MB Bank, giving access to the corner property.

The creation of the frontage road will also give the bank 14 more parking spaces in front of its building and will remove what has become a favorite haunt of skateboarders.

The plan also shows a north-south frontage road along Harlem Avenue just north of 21st Street, where Rizza Ford has a driveway into its lot. Such an entry could allow access on Harlem Avenue in both directions, though northbound entry at that location appears problematic.

After the zoning questions are settled, BP will schedule soil tests and do cleanup work in June. As part of the sale agreement between the then-Amoco Oil Company and Rizza Auto Group back in 1985, McMillan said, BP is obligated to perform and pay for further site remediation.

Only a small portion of the 1-acre site will need further remediation, according to McMillan.

“It’s probably well under two-tenths of an acre,” he said.

But it will take another couple of months to get final sign-off from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, McMillan said, which will delay the sale of the property and construction until early fall.

“We’ll probably close this deal after Sept. 1,” McMillan said, “And they’ll break ground in the fall, so they’ll finish next spring.”