A 1,583-square-foot, drive-through Starbucks could be coming to the city of Beaufort.
The building proposed for the 1900 block of Boundary Street is under final review by city staff. The shop would be in front of Quality Inn at Town Center, near Ribaut Road.
Developer 303 Associates, which owns the land on which Starbucks and a second building would go, has submitted applications to the city.
"Starbucks has been considering coming to Beaufort for 13 to 14 years," according to the application. "They are now at a point where they are very comfortable coming to Beaufort."
It is not clear from the application when the store might be built or opened.
A Starbucks spokeswoman was unable to provide information or comments Monday.
"We cannot confirm any plans for a new store opening in Beaufort, SC," according to an email. "We are always looking for ways to better meet the needs of our customers; however, we do not have any information to share at this time."
Attempts Monday to reach a 303 Associates representative were unsuccessful.
While Starbucks has a half-dozen locations in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island, it has not opened a store in northern Beaufort County.
Redevelopment Commission chairman Jon Verity said the location is natural for a well-known business like Starbucks, and he believes it would be a nice addition.
The project is made possible, according to the application, through a 2012 land swap between 303 Associates, which owns Beaufort Town Center, and the city.
The small triangular plot in front of Burlap Cafe, Bakery & Gifts contains a right of way for Lovejoy Street. It was given to 303 Associates in exchange for the developer's permission to build a connecting street between Sycamore Street and Marsh Road, between the triangular land and Burlap Cafe. The road would be given to the city, but 303 Associates would retain ownership of on-street parking areas, according to the agreement. That area currently is a parking lot, which drivers frequently cut through to avoid traffic lights on Boundary Street.
"By itself, Lovejoy Park was not large enough to support a building or other development," according to the application. "However, when combined with Town Center Inn's existing land, the Lovejoy property provided Town Center Inn a greater developable parcel and Boundary Street frontage."
Plans show a two-story structure with a drive-through on the north side of the building, facing away from Boundary Street.
The city Zoning Board of Appeals granted an exemption for a drive-through with a five-vehicle stacking lane instead of the three-vehicle maximum.
The Starbucks would seat 58 people and be staffed by about four employees at a given time, according to the application.
The application also proposes a second, larger building east of Starbucks for a "strong, prospective tenant," which is not named.
A hypothetical situation proposed in the application for Starbucks suggests that second building would be a 2,500-square-foot restaurant, without a drive-through and with 118 seats.
Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said he expects the Starbucks project will be discussed during the City Council meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.
He said he welcomes the idea of new businesses in Beaufort, especially in the Boundary Street Redevelopment District that city officials are targeting for new growth.
Keyserling said there was opposition in the past when there was talk about a Starbucks going downtown and directly competing with local coffee shops, but he pointed out that drive-throughs are not allowed in the downtown historic district.
"People who are downtown aren't going to get in their cars to drive across town to get a cup of coffee and come back to sit in the park," he said.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.
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