A developer seeking to bring a Starbucks to Beaufort will get concessions on some key building features, but other differences between 303 Associates and city officials remain unresolved.
The coffee retailer would occupy a spot in a new building near the intersection of Boundary Street and Ribaut Road.
"We definitely would like to see it get going," city planner Libby Anderson said.
The city agreed to ease rules about the size of colonnades that are required by city code on buildings fronting Boundary Street, according to Courtney Worrell of 303 Associates.
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Another concern, about placement of the menu board in the building's drive-thru, was resolved Monday when the Zoning Board of Appeals reconsidered a previous decision and voted to allow the placement Starbucks preferred. The board allowed Starbucks to keep a drive-thru lane that would allow as many as five cars at a time between the menu board and the delivery window.
But at least one big hurdle remains, Worrell said.
The city requires that the facade for the first floor be 75 percent glass. Worrell said that would cost too much. The developer wants to use less glass but has not said what percentage it would accept.
Worrell said the company seeks a compromise with the city on that and other issues that would drive up building costs.
"Would the project be dead if these concessions aren't made? No, but it would be put on hold while we explored other options," Worrell said.
Worrell, Anderson and city project development planner Lauren Kelly plan to meet Wednesday to continue talks, Worrell said.
For its part, city staff is standing firm on a desire to save a 37-inch live oak, and Kelly believes a 32-inch live oak could also be saved. Both trees are in the area 303 Associates wants to use for parking.
"If a business fails because it doesn't have adequate parking, what's more important to the city -- the business or the tree?" Worrell countered.
Discussion of the Starbucks project comes as building design requirements in the Boundary Street Redevelopment District are also under review. Planning committees and City Council are expected to vote on potential changes proposed by staff to ease development during the next few months.
Developers "come in here and see dollar sign after dollar sign after dollar sign, and you aren't going to get the development this district is supposed to foster," Worrell said.