Starbucks eyes vacant space by LeeAnn Chin

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Starbucks might open in a vacant space next to Leeann Chin in Elk River.

Starbucks is interested in occupying part of this vacant space at 19179 Freeport St., Elk River.

Starbucks is interested in occupying part of this vacant space at 19179 Freeport St., Elk River. Star News file photo

The coffee business is proposing to occupy part of a former video store in the east end of the building at 19179 Freeport St. A portion of the space between Starbucks and the existing Leeann Chin restaurant would still be vacant.

As part of the plan, Starbucks is proposing a drive-thru lane on the east end of the building. Due to limited space, the drive-thru would be less than a foot from the east property line and next to the Highway 169 right of way.

A 10-foot setback is typically required between paved areas and the adjacent property line, according to Jeremy Barnhart, Elk River deputy director of community operations and development. That is more flexible in this case because the property is zoned for planned unit development, or PUD.

The Elk River City Council took a preliminary look at the proposal June 17 and, while not taking a vote or offering any feedback that is binding, did appear supportive of the concept. A more formal review process will unfold later if the Starbucks proposal moves forward.

The space Starbucks would like to occupy has been vacant since Hollywood Video closed several years ago. A pawn shop had approached the city about opening a store there, but the council voted it down last year.

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