Greg Salvatore and Michael Yanoff of Salvatore Capital Partners LLC met with members of the Historical District Commission and Historical Commission to hear preliminary concerns about converting the current Mobil gas station at the corner of North and Main Streets into a Starbucks Coffeehouse.
"We’re really in the early stages of development," said Salvatore at the start of the 25-minute discussion. “We have the property under agreement with the owners, Global Petroleum, and we have a tenant who is interested in being part of the community. We’re also still in the process of trying to understand what the cost might be involved to put this together."
Salvatore listed some key factors the developers and tenant are weighing when looking at the affordability of the project.
"Given the cost of the purchase price, the fact that we have to remove the [gasoline] tanks and the fact that the tenant really wants to be here but they also view this downtown as not hugely vibrant, especially at night," said Salvatore. “There’s got to be a profit in there somewhere.”
In order to make the project economically feasible, they would have to reuse the current building, and would also add on to the left [North Street] side of the building.
“The tenant has let us know that, given the fact that it’s a little bit smaller and they’re really looking at this property as a sort of meeting place and a place for folks to spend a little bit of time, we need it to be a little bit larger so we’re looking to add another 360 feet to that building,” said Salvatore, noting the national chain has a way of fitting themselves into existing structures.
Salvatore also said his company specializes in building small shops such as Starbucks, Panera Bread, Bertucci’s, banks, etc.
Both committees agreed that the Mobil building (circa 1966) has no historical significance and is currently considered an eyesore.
Last month, . Town historian Richard DeSorgher is a member of that committee and was at Wednesday’s meeting.
DeSorgher said his committee had talked to Salvatore about continuing the brick sidewalk and Colonial lighting themes that are seen in other downtown areas, and also suggested windows similar to the Colonial Williamsburg windows in the across the street from the property.
The developers talked about patio seating that might pour out from the coffeehouse and town officials suggested incorporating the “pocket park” next to the site.
“More outside seating would be nice; it would really bring people out,” said Dan Bibel, co-chair of the Historical Commission. “We’re anxious to see what you have planned. Whatever you’re going to do is going to be an improvement.”
Co-chair David Temple suggested incorporating the Mobil Pegasus sign into the new design could add a unique and whimsical appeal to the gas-station-turned-coffeehouse.
Members expressed concerns about traffic congestion at this already-busy intersection. Salvatore said he would consult a traffic engineer during the application process.
Bibel said some residents are concerned that both Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts could be moving to Main Street at the same time.
“There’s plenty of room for a Dunkin’ Donuts and a Starbucks, and they’re not going to compete with where the pastries are exceptional.
Salvatore said he would likely file the official paperwork with the town in 60 days.
“We hope to bring something to you that might not be perfect for everybody but something that most people would be proud of,” he said.