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Proposed Starbucks stirs up Montrose

Some worry about its fit while others say it will attract shoppers.

September 09, 2011|By Mark Kellam and Brittany Levine, mark.kellam@latimes.com; brittany.levine@latimes.com

A proposed Starbucks on Honolulu Avenue in the Montrose Shopping Park is getting mixed reviews from local business owners who say the corporate chain may not mesh with the independent image of the district.

Starbucks plans to open in the 1,840-square-foot storefront that currently houses Color Me Mine on the southeast corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard, but it must first secure a conditional-use permit to change the space from retail to fast food because it has more than eight seats.

Starbucks is also requesting a parking-reduction permit so it can have 15 fewer spaces than required by city code.

The potential for a corporate addition to the district has split opinion among existing business owners, with some who contend a Starbucks would bring badly needed foot traffic to other storefronts, and others who worry about the impact to parking and traffic.

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Maureen Palacios, owner of Once Upon A Time bookstore and treasurer for the Montrose Shopping Park Assn., said during a recent board meeting that a Starbucks would increase vehicle traffic and hurt parking in the district.

“It’s going to have a tremendous impact on businesses around there,” she said. “We don’t necessarily need a Starbucks.”

Starbucks customers could congest the streets and discourage people from visiting other stores because of a lack of parking, Palacios added.

A Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is already located across the street from the proposed Starbucks.

Palacios also said she thinks Starbucks customers will simply get their coffee or latte and leave.

But Jake Menachien, a board member for the association and owner of Critters gift store, said he thought a Starbucks would generate more customers for neighboring stores.

“We need traffic in this shopping park,” he said. “Big companies are going to bring traffic.”

Mary Dawson, vice president of the association and owner of Revelation Tops women’s clothing store, said a Starbucks would erode the uniqueness of the shopping park.

“It sort of makes Montrose like everyone else again,” she said. “We pride ourselves on being more mom-and-pop stores.”

Starbucks plans to move its building’s front wall back several feet to make room for an outside seating area, according to plans submitted to the city. The coffeehouse would have 23 seats inside and 13 outside.

No hearing date has been set for the proposal, according to Senior Planner Brad Collin.

If Starbucks opens, Color Me Mine, which specializes in on-site ceramic painting, probably will move into a smaller space next door, said store owner Sarkis Garibyan, adding that he had already been looking to downsize.
 
 

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