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Developers Show Interest in Bringing Starbucks to Medfield

Developers representing Starbucks met with Medfield's Downtown Study Committee to discuss the possibility of bringing the famous coffee shop chain to Medfield at the site currently occupied by Mobil on North Street.

Another chain coffee shop may be moving into a prominent section of Medfield.

Greg Salvatore of Salvatore Capital Partners, LLC, based in Dedham, recently met with Medfield’s Downtown Study Committee to present preliminary drawings of a proposal to develop a Starbucks at the current Mobil gas station site at the corner of North Street and Route 109 Main Street. The drawing can be viewed in the photo gallery above.

Salvatore Capital Partners LLC, which represents the Seattle-based coffee shop chain, is currently in negotiations with the property owner – Alliance Energy LLC of Branford, Conn. – of the Mobil site but nothing is imminent at this time, according to Brandie Erb, chairman of the Downtown Study Committee.

“[Salvatore Capital Partners LLC] has come in and made an offer on the property,” Erb said. “[They] have probably another 60 to 80 days to make their decision so this is not something that will happen tomorrow.”

The property, located at the prominent corner of North and Main Streets, just recently went for sale on market, according to Erb, after Mobil decided it no longer wanted a gas station at that location.

“Under its current owner, [the property] would not become anything else other than a Mobil property,” Erb said. “Mobil has decided they no longer wish to operate this property and it has been put on the market. … [Alliance Energy LLC] has the first right of refusal to purchase the property.”

According to the Medfield Board of Assessors, Mobil Oil Company Inc. sold the property, along with several other stations in the area, to Alliance Energy LLC on Sept. 8, 2010 for $10,412,000. In 2012, the Board of Assessors valued the .329-acre property at 467 Main St. at $537,800 with a building value of $249,700 and land value at $218,400. The building was constructed in 1966.

Salvatore met twice with the Downtown Study Committee in May, most recently on May 24, to discuss the possibility of bringing Starbucks to town and gain a better understanding of what the town is looking for in terms of business and appearance.

“[The developers] reviewed some basic information on what they need in order to make [the proposal] a viable project and asked us what the town would like to see there,” Erb said. “When these developers come in to town they obviously want a friendly atmosphere at town hall and to work with the local government.”

Erb said Salvatore Capital Partners LLC is looking for just under 1,800 square feet, which will require an extension off of the left side of the current building.

“They are looking to keep within the existing footprints of the building and with the existing building if possible, with just that small addition,” Erb said.

The Mobil station is located within Medfield’s Historic District, which means any modifications to the building will require town approval.

“It is in the Historic District and the building will generally stay the same Colonial design,” said town historian Richard DeSorgher, who is a member of the Downtown Study Committee. “The potential buyer seemed very receptive to tree plantings, landscaping, Colonial lighting and brick sidewalks. He also thought Starbucks would be agreeable to outside seating, which is also something the Downtown Study Committee is looking for.”

Erb agreed.

“They’ve been very concerned with meeting our expectations and our demands so it has been very positive,” Erb said of the developers. … “[Greg Salvatore is] very accommodating. He came to us really as a courtesy. The developers do not need to come to us to begin with. We try to make it easier for them for the process through town hall.”

Erb and DeSorgher called the current state of the property an “eyesore” and that something has to be done to improve such a “prominent” and visible section of the downtown.

“In my opinion, the current Mobil gas station has shown no pride in the community; the building needs painting, weeds and tall grass grows,” DeSorgher said. “That location is the heart of Medfield Center, at the intersection of Main and North Streets.”

Said Erb: “We met with [Alliance Energy LLC] months ago prior to the property coming on the market. At that point, we told [the property owner] the Mobil station is an eyesore and it has to be cleaned up and they agreed to that and then went and put the property on the market.”

Erb added that a business like Starbucks would give the town the dramatic improvement the site needs while providing numerous benefits to the town.

“The immediate benefit to the town is the aesthetic value,” Erb said. “The giant back lighted sign will disappear. The parking lot will be cleaned up, the brush cleared, the facade improved, just a general improvement to the look of a major downtown corner. Plus the fact that the tanks will come out and there won’t be a gas station next to Town Hall.

“The long-term benefit that we would like to see is more foot traffic downtown. People will be able to walk down to a coffee shop and have a seat, have an outdoor seat and be able to meet people. It will be a place that is open later than other coffee shops.”

In addition to the possibility of Starbucks replacing Mobil, the Downtown Study Committee is planning to install a “pocket park” for the area between the Mobil site and , according to Erb.

DeSorgher believes Starbucks’ appearance in addition to the installation of the pocket park will make that part of town more desirable and attractive for the community to enjoy.

“[Starbucks] will bring in activity to the center of town, will add additional parking and will turn an eyesore into an area that will be a credit to the community,” he said. “The landscaping, Colonial lighting and brick sidewalks will complement the Town Hall and Library areas. It will also work into the small town park between the Mobil and Zebras. With some tables/benches put there, this will also add to more life to the town center.”

Because the property is currently a gas station, Erb says the developers will weigh the cost of engineering required for the cleanup of the site as well as the traffic-engineering plan that will be needed for the area.

“There will be some environmental impact,” Erb said.

One advantage Salvatore Capital Partners LLC has is its experience in converting gas stations into Starbucks.

“The developer has done similar properties where he has converted a gas station into a Starbucks so that is nothing new for him,” Erb said. “He’s representing other Starbucks in the area. He has done other ones nearby. It is an area he is familiar with.”

While there’s plenty of upside to Starbucks replacing Mobil, Erb and DeSorgher voiced concerns regarding the potential development.

“We discussed concerns we had such as deliveries and building design and dumpster pickup and snow removal and the appearance in the Historic District,” Erb said. “Everything that the town and our committee needed to be concerned with and he needed to be aware of.”

Said DeSorgher: “Personally, a Starbucks would not be my preference of a business to go there but Mobil is moving out and it appears a potential buyer is going to bring in Starbucks.”

DeSorgher and Erb both touched on the possibility of another coffee shop coming to town – something that may be unpopular to residents following the

“It certainly seems like a glut of coffee places but we are being told each has its own loyal customers,” DeSorgher said. “We are being told Starbucks is the only business that feels they can make a go at that location, even though there will be a Dunkin’ Donuts [at the old Friendly’s site].”

Said Erb: “I know it’s another coffee shop … The coffee shops find Medfield very attractive. … At the end of the day the landlords of these properties, as long as they’re not violating any town bylaws and as long as they meet any requirements needed, they are allowed to lease to who they lease to.”

DeSorgher added he is worried about the smaller businesses with two chain coffee shops possibly coming to town.

“I have concerns about , and being impacted by the Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, but I believe each has loyal customers and I hope will be able to hold their own,” DeSorgher said.

Despite those concerns, Erb and DeSorgher agree that Starbucks, in many ways, could be just what the downtown needs.

“The property is a prominent location, a major corner of our downtown,” said Erb. “Our committee is very concerned about the look of the property as well as making it an active property. Starbucks, by staying open later than a typical store would in town, fits that need.”

Said DeSorgher: “The Starbucks will help with town taxes and improve the appearance of the area.”

But an agreement must be reached first between the developer and property owner and that decision likely won’t be made for a couple months.

“Things are moving forward [with Starbucks] but not final,” DeSorgher said. “It sounds hopeful but anything could happen and the deal is not complete.”

abby marble June 01, 2012 at 11:23 AM
I have to say, not really wanting to discourage businesses from opening in Medfield but I am very concerned about the traffic flow at our two main intersections in town. Both coffee business are on the "wrong side" of commuter traffic and so very close to the intersections themselves that traffic would be greatly impacted. These two intersections can difficult to cross on the best days without the added chaos and are the only intersections that provide North to East access which further complicates the matter. I hope a diligent traffic study is being planned.
Heidi Terry June 01, 2012 at 12:48 PM
I too am concerned about traffic flow especially at the rt 27 and rt109 intersection. We have a Dunkin Donuts already and, it is not the type of place people pull in, park and stay for a while (like a Starbucks can be) it is an in and out place only causing more back up at the intersection across from Cumberland farms. So I say yes to the Starbucks and No to another Dunkin Donuts.
Errin Chapin June 01, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I say yes to both AND that the town needs to figure out how to handle the existing and future growth that is coming (West ST 40B). We need businesses to come to Medfield. They supply jobs and tax revenue. Better yet, they do not add to our school population. That being said, these intersections and the West St/27 one need to be studied and reworked. Coming through our town during busing hours and commuting hours is ridiculous. As a sidebar, the town should permit Jim James his ability to advertise his business. Park Street books is a perfect example of the type of business this town needs to attract. Let Jim put a sign out. Medfield needs Park Street Books to stay in Medfield.
Stein Dennis June 01, 2012 at 01:49 PM
So the world has come down to Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks as the only viable options for new businesses in small towns. What a shame.
Ihor Mykyta June 01, 2012 at 03:32 PM
The Mobil station on the corner of North and Main is a sore to the area. With the Town Hall restored to its magnificent past, a park would be more appropriate. There are other vacant facilities in the area that could accommodate a new business. But do we really need another coffee shop?
Gregory Berks June 01, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Starbucks will provide economic stability to the area and will take care of their investment. It will also contribute to creating a more social downtown area. Economics will decide whether or not Medfield needs another coffee shop.
Janey M. Roode June 01, 2012 at 07:45 PM
I agree with Errin, we love Park Street books!! Put a sign out!!
Janey M. Roode June 01, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I say yes to Starbucks!! They are a much needed Medfield attraction!! They have the best coffee!!
Osler Peterson June 01, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Should the town buy the Mobil station site? As noted, it is an important site to our downtown, especially next to the Town House. I am told that the town meeting voted down buying the site once before.
Linda Freedman June 03, 2012 at 03:39 PM
As the owner of Blue Moon Bagel cafe, I am so very upset about the idea of the Town letting in Starbucks and other corporate chains. They will not add anything positive to the charm and flavor of the town, will increase traffic problems, and most likely will greatly impact the shops like Blue Moon who work so hard to give the community a nice personal experience. We have always supported this town and it's people: we now ask you for your support in not letting Starbucks come to Medfield. We are not sure we can stay in business if Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts comes. I also want to advocate for the preservation of Honey's, the Donut Shop, From Scratch and all small businesses who depend on their livilihood from the Medfield Community. Please think of us and our 16 years of service to Medfield before you casually let in Starbucks.
Kathy Cook June 03, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I think the town should consider purchasing the site, especially given that it is next to Town Hall. Even a nicely landscaped parking lot might be a better use than a Starbucks at a congested intersection. Just an idea: Maybe it could be a mini-park with a handful of parking spots and some outdoor seating so that people could buy food from the local businesses and eat it there. (then those local businesses and other organizations could be asked to 'adopt-the-park' during warmer months for a week or two to keep it clean.- ??? maybe???) Starbucks might do better at the Strata bank on 27, where they could have a drive-thru.
Dharma Kaur June 03, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I love the small town feel of Medfield. As Westwood is going under with all the closed shops, ofcourse a Starbucks comes in to clarify the point. We don't need a starbucks or dunkin donuts. The roads and traffic system is too congested already.
Medfield Resident June 04, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Yes to Dunkin Donuts at the former Friendly's site, yes to Starbucks at the old gas station, and yes to more restaurants -- not just breakfast/lunch cafes, but family-friendly full service restaurants -- in Medfield.
Medfield Resident June 04, 2012 at 01:34 AM
More choice and competition is better for everyone. While I eat at your business regularly, it is a grossly inappropriate use of town regulations to stifle competition and adopt anti-competitive policies simply to protect existing business owners. No, I will *NOT* support your effort to suppress competition and protect your business. Bring Dunks and Starbucks to Medfield!
Medfield Resident June 04, 2012 at 01:37 AM
The gas station is an eyesore; Starbucks would bring a good product and service to residents and it would bring economic development to Medfield. The site is too small for a park, but its compact size and prominent location make it ideal for a coffee shop. A nice Starbucks would be PERFECT there.
Medfield Resident June 04, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Buying the site would cost the town money (money much better spent on our schools) and it would remove a source of tax revenue. Bad idea.
jude vega June 04, 2012 at 12:25 PM
don't it always seem to go. you dont know what you got til its gone. You pave paradise and you put up a parking lot. Joni
jude vega June 04, 2012 at 12:26 PM
i like it the way it is- with blue moon bagel cafe at the top of my favorites!!
Gregory Berks June 04, 2012 at 12:49 PM
It should be noted that the same arguments that "big business" would affect "small business" were made when Papa Ginos, D'Angelos, Subway and Pizza Hut wanted to move to town. Last time I looked, Casabella and Royal Pizza are still in business.
Peg Doyle June 04, 2012 at 07:48 PM
While I'm no longer a resident, Medfield still feels like home to me. It seems a lovely opportunity to purchase the land, as Osler Peterson posed the question, might it be in the interests of building a beautiful Town House lawn, much like Needham did. It's a terribly busy intersection already and we already have Blue Moon and other great venues in town for coffee and sandwiches.
Medfield resident June 04, 2012 at 07:51 PM
There are plenty of residents who really would like to keep the quaintness of our small town. Also, the traffic would become even more unbearable on Rt 109, and certainly be unsafe to all the kids at Montrose and in town schools that walk in the area. Please consider the safety of our children.
Mark June 05, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I would suggest for the town to buy the land and widen North Street so that there are three lanes of traffic Southbound into the center, one each for left only, straight, and right only. This would align North and Pleasant a little better and empty traffic from North street quicker, so perhaps 109 could get a longer green signal. I think there would still be plenty of room for slanted parking spaces and a park with benches, tables, etc. Any grants for improving safety and traffic flow?
George Dillon June 05, 2012 at 07:12 PM
The traffic pulling in and out of Starbucks will be a nightmare. Count me in for the park concept.
Gregory Berks June 05, 2012 at 08:56 PM
There has been a gas station at that location for more than three decades. There would most likely be extensive environmental clean up necessary before a public park could be built. The taxpayers would be responsible for the clean up bill and construction of the park. The park would also generate zero tax revenue, and would require constant upkeep and maintenance. Veteran's Park does not see very much use as it is.
Casey walsh June 06, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I have been commuting to work at the bluemoon bagel cafe for over 5 years now. I drive in all the way from Bellingham, I feel like putting a Starbucks in will take away from the towns individuality and make it just another stop on 109 making traffic rediculous. If I wanted to work at starbucks I have one right here in my town, it's just another chain. Next thing you know there will be a McDonald's in medfield. I was so surprised when they put that Dunkin donuts in and now I here there is going to be another one! Takes away from the character of this little town.
Medfield Resident June 06, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Having a Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts in town would do nothing to diminish the charm, attractiveness and desirability of Medfield. There are numerous attractive communities in the region that have these businesses -- consider our next door neighbors in Westwood, for example. Replace the eyesore of an old, run down gas station; bring in a new business that serves a quality product that is in high demand; open a new location in town for people to gather while growing our economy. Reject the doom and gloom of the naysayers!
Will E June 06, 2012 at 10:21 PM
- Buying the Mobil property and turning it into a park would cost the town money and eliminate yet another source of tax revenue - Mom-and-pop stores like Lord's and Blue Moon add to the town's character, but the residents don't get to vote on which occupants these private property owners sell or lease to at the Mobil or Friendly's location (both hardly mom-and-pop operations now). The town could enact bylaws to restrict chains, but those sites are already franchise / commercial sites so the legal challenge will be great, and if small local business aren't interested in the sites the result will be vacant store fronts (I'd rather have a Starbucks than boarded up windows). - I don't patronize Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks and they can't compete with the quality of donuts from Donut Express or bagels and baked goods from Blue Moon.
Long time Medfield resident June 06, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Of course you are "so very upset about the idea of the Town letting in a Starbucks and other corporate chains" it will directly impact your business. Your post came across as whiny and self serving. If you are so concerned about the town of Medfield and it's people then think of what is best for them and not your own greed.
CMP June 30, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Why does Dunkin Donuts want to open another location in the same town when the vast majority of residents are against it (based on various media polls)? What a bad PR move for Dunkin', unless of course, it only cares about greed from non-Medfield commuters, which is exactly who it will attract. Fellow residents...if you care about Dunkin' coming in, then do something about it! No franchise wants to create bad PR and an active display of "No Dunkin' Donuts" signs will surely send a message. Towns have fought Walmart and other franchises with active citizenship. As an aside...Blue Moon has done wonderful things for this town and its residents, and for anyone to call the owners greedy is totally uncalled for.

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