Proposed Starbucks in Portage Park at Addison & Long would offer no indoor dining; customers would use walk-up, drive-through
by BRIAN NADIG
Customers of a proposed Starbucks Coffee at the southeast corner of Addison Street and Long Avenue in Portage Park would have to pick up their orders at the drive-through or walk-up windows, as no indoor dining or ordering would be offered.
At a Dec. 16 community meeting, Adam Secher, a consultant representing Starbucks, said that customer habits have changed the past two years during the pandemic and the proposed design reflects that, adding that a Starbucks at Devon and Broadway avenues has no indoor section for customers and has been very successful.
“Most people don’t actually dine in. Most are grabbing and going,” Secher said. Ordering via the Starbucks app allows customers to pick up their order with no waiting, he said.
Earlier this year Starbucks sought a shop with no indoor dining at 5600 N. Harlem Ave., but indoor seating was added back into the proposal after the community raised objections.
Over the years the 12,000-square-foot parcel at 3557 N. Long Ave. has been home to an auto body repair shop, a gas station and a hot dog restaurant, according to project developer Mitch Goltz. Plans call for the former repair shop to be demolished.
The proposed Starbucks building would measure 1,128 square feet, and there would be an exit-only driveway on Addison and an enter-only driveway on Long. Ten parking spaces and an outdoor dining patio are planned, and there would be room for 10 to 12 cars to queue up in the drive-through lane, Goltz said.
A site plan showed that vehicles would be able to turn right or left turn onto Addison from the parking lot, but Alderman Ariel Reboyras (30th) said that he will insist that only right turns be allowed after some residents expressed traffic concerns.
Goltz said that a neighboring property owner has issued a letter of support for the project.
“This is a great addition to the neighborhood, and I think this will help (the community),” a resident said at the meeting.
Others expressed concerns that the project could worsen cut-through traffic on area side streets and that customers would throw their garbage in the neighborhood.
“How will Starbucks benefit our neighborhood by bringing a drive-through.” one resident said. Another said that “people blow through the stop signs all the time.”
Secher responded, “Typically the shops don’t generate more vehicular traffic. The vehicular traffic is already on the street.”
“This location is primarily to serve the immediate area,” Goltz said.
A significant number of customers at the existing Starbucks at Cicero and Berteau avenues walk there, Secher said.
Some residents noted that the Lawrence-Central Starbucks often generates a backup of cars onto the street.
Goltz resounded that the Long-Addison intersection is not as heavily traveled as Lawrence and Central.
Secher added that the backup issues at the Jefferson Park shop are due in part to a driveway whose width was cut in half at the suggestion of then-alderman John Arena. That design change to the proposal was done with good intentions but may be contributing to the problem, Secher said.
Also, Goltz said that there would be adequate garbage cans on the site, and Secher said that the store manager would work with the community to address any issues.
The Zoning Board of Appeals at its Friday, Jan. 21, meeting is scheduled to hold a hearing on the project.
Reboyras asks that comments in support or against the project be submitted to his office within the next 10 days. Ward30@cityofchicago.org.
Plans for the project will be posted at www.30thwardchicago.com
While Addison is a main thoroughfare, the commercial development site is along a primarily residential stretch of Addison. A zoning change is not needed for the project, but a special use for the drive-through is required.