Starbucks is looking to open a new drive-thru location in Royal Palm Beach.
Photo by Engin Akyurt.
A new Starbucks could be coming to a busy Royal Palm Beach intersection.
The proposed drive-through coffee shop would be between the Denny’s and the medical office building on the south side of Okeechobee Boulevard just west of Royal Palm Beach Boulevard.
Royal Palm Beach’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday night voted, somewhat hesitantly, to recommend approval of three applications to the Village Council, which will review the applications at its next meeting March 16.
The site originally was approved for a bank as part of the Village Center project, which includes the medical office building and a small, undeveloped pad just south of that building that also is approved for a bank.
For the Starbucks to move forward, the Village Council will need to approve the three applications reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission:
• A parking variance to reduce the required number of parking spaces to 17 from 42.
• A site plan modification to allow a restaurant instead of a bank.
• A landscape variance to reduce the width of two landscape islands.
Brian Terry with Insite Studio, representing applicant Investment Equity Group III, said the reduction in parking spaces is justified because the number required by village code is not consistent with what a drive-through coffee shop needs. The effect of the reduction is even less when considering the spaces available in the overall Village Center project, he said.
“We’re looking at an opportunity to bring a very quality user to a vacant piece of property that’s been there for a very long time,” Terry said.
Thomas Traino, who has owned the Denny’s since 1994, said he is concerned that breakfast traffic from Starbucks will back into the parking lot for his restaurant and affect his customers.
“Once the line backs up through my Denny’s, those parking spaces are useless,” Traino said.
The commission, with three members absent, voted 4-0 to recommend approval of the parking variance, with the condition that Terry and his team work with Royal Palm Beach staff to find a way to add more parking spaces to the site plan. The final vote to recommend approval came only after two split votes, with the recommendation to add parking back into the plan a compromise suggested by Bradford O’Brien, the village’s director of planning and zoning.
The vote to recommend the landscape variance was a quick 4-0. The commission also voted 4-0 to recommend the site plan modification request, with an additional condition that if cars begin backing into the Denny’s parking lot, the owner will work with Denny’s and the village to find a solution. Village staff had suggested a condition to require the Starbucks to work with the village if cars consistently back onto Okeechobee Boulevard.
The project sits at an intersection that has seen a burst of redevelopment in recent years.
On the northeast corner of Okeechobee and Royal Palm Beach boulevards, the Publix grocery store that had anchored the plaza since the 1980s was demolished last year. A larger, more modern Publix is being built.
On the northwest corner, behind the Village Royale shopping plaza, a multifamily home community is in the planning stages.
On the southeast corner, Royal Palm Beach is close to completing its two-story Village Hall.
The Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center just south of the proposed Starbucks was renovated and expanded, reopening at the end of 2018.
The building to the immediate east of the planned Starbucks, which sat empty for nearly a decade before a new owner breathed life into the property in 2019, is filling up with medical office tenants.
About 2½ miles to the south along Southern Boulevard, the Starbucks in the Southern Palm Crossing shopping plaza is moving into a stand-alone space with a drive-through in a building that was a Citibank.