As problems percolate, Starbucks plan cools

September 30, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

A proposal to build Hagerstown's first Starbucks Coffee shop, at the Centre at Hagerstown, has hit at least a snag and maybe worse.

"The developers ... informed us this week that they will not proceed with the project," City Engineer Rodney Tissue wrote in a Sept. 22 memo released at Tuesday's Hagerstown City Council meeting.

"Our department's condition of improvements to Garland Groh Boulevard were apparently not 'doable' by the developer for various reasons and therefore they decided to stop the project," Tissue wrote.


"We haven't pulled the project," Skip McKenzie, the executive vice president of real estate for the applicant, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust of Rockville, Md., said Thursday afternoon. "It's not dead, as far as we're concerned."

"We're trying to work through some issues with the city right now," McKenzie said.

Tissue was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Assistant City Engineer Jim Bender said Washington Real Estate Investment Trust and Starbucks have disagreed about who would do the road work.

McKenzie agreed that road improvements are at the heart of the issue, which he called "delicate." He said other parties are involved, too.

The proposed coffee shop would be close to McDonald's.

A building permit puts the size at about 2,000 square feet.

Bender said it would be mostly a drive-through shop, with a few tables. A site plan shows about 15 parking spaces.

Starbucks and McDonald's would share a driveway off Garland Groh Boulevard.

In order to get site-plan approval, the project plan had to include a turn lane for Garland Groh Boulevard traffic turning left onto the driveway, Bender said.

There was some preliminary work on the site, but it stopped within the last week or so, McKenzie said.

On Sept. 21, Tissue voided the building permit, which was issued in December. Bender said the developer can get another one if it decides to revive the project.

Tissue's memo concludes, "We note that from a traffic standpoint, this is a very difficult piece of land that they were trying to develop. Any use that goes in there will be faced with the same improvement requirements."

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