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Look what's brewing

September 30, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

Plans are underway to bring a Starbucks Coffee store to Hagerstown.

Starbucks, popular in urban settings for its high-octane coffee and pricey flavored drinks, is a brand name that has been sought after in areas undergoing neighborhood revitalization because it is seen as an indicator of local wealth.

The Hagerstown Planning Commission reviewed site plans for the store at its Wednesday night meeting, but recommended few changes.

The store will be nestled on a small piece of land at the Centre at Hagerstown next to the McDonald's restaurant, just off U.S. 40 and Interstate 81, according to the plans.

City Planning Director Kathleen Maher said the plans indicate there will be a walk-up counter, but no dining area. There also will be a drive-through pickup window and about 14 parking spaces.

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Maher said the developer, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, of Rockville, Md., has not indicated when construction would begin or when the store would open.

However, Maher said, because of the small size of the store - about 1,600 square feet - "I would imagine it would go pretty quickly."

The main condition the builders must meet is to extend a median strip along Garland Groh Boulevard, the street that runs along the shopping center. The median strip extension will ease traffic flows, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said.

During its review, the Planning Commission agreed with Tissue's suggestion to place a sidewalk along the proposed coffee shop. The commission asked for one traffic improvement near the drive-through area, and left it up to the developer to plant any extra trees near the sidewalk.

According to Starbucks' Web site, the closest open Starbucks to Hagerstown is in Frederick, about 30 miles away.

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