A Starbucks is set to open in the old Blockbuster location on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville as early as late July.
Developer Rock Baker of Bre-Rock LLC, who redeveloped the Publix shopping center just down the road, said the Starbucks will have the company’s latest design and feature a video drive-thru with a lane that will wrap around the building.
He has to turn the building over to Starbucks by May 31, and the company will send in a team to prepare for opening, somewhere around 45 days later. Baker said the coffee shop should be open by late July or early August.
Starbucks will be 2,000 square feet and occupy a third of a building, which has space for three more tenants. It will feature outdoor seating, umbrellas and bike racks. A sidewalk is planned along Thompson Bridge Road in front of the building.
Baker said he plans to spend $600,000 redeveloping the building and is hoping to put in a nice restaurant as one of the other three tenants.
He said it took 15 months to negotiate bringing Starbucks’ second shopping mall location, in addition to the one in Village Shoppes on Dawsonville Highway. The coffee shop also has locations inside area Krogers.
The developer praised the city of Gainesville for its help in acquiring a tiny slice of state land on the edge of the property to help make way for the drive-thru. He said he knew the city took heat for the traffic light and the nearby Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market but that Starbucks “probably wouldn’t be here without that light and Wal-Mart.”
Specifically, Baker said, the installation of the traffic light “kind of accelerated everything.”
Plans have been approved for the building shell, Gainesville Community Development Director Rusty Ligon said. Starbucks will later have to submit plans for build-out of its space.
The Starbucks adds to a growing coffee chain presence on the major Gainesville thoroughfare, as a Dunkin’ Donuts is being constructed in the old Yonah Burger location almost half a mile south of the planned Starbucks.
Also in Hall County, plans were announced in December for a stand-alone Starbucks at Merchants Crossing Shopping Center at 3707 Mundy Mill Road in Oakwood.