City planners approve permit for Starbucks on Route 10 in Easthampton

  • A drive-thru Starbucks is proposed for this site at 93 Northampton St. (Route 10) in Easthampton, currently the entrance to a driving range. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • This structure at Easthampton Golf driving range on Northampton Street in Easthampton would be razed to make way for a proposed Starbucks. Photographed on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 3/16/2022 6:04:53 PM

EASTHAMPTON — The world’s largest coffee chain plans to add another shop in western Massachusetts this summer.

The city’s Planning Board has unanimously approved a special permit to construct and operate a drive-thru Starbucks. The shop would be built on a proposed 37,276-square-foot subdivision of the 32.78-acre property at 93 Northampton St. between Burger King and Tasty Top.

The resulting two parcels meet the 120-foot frontage requirement called for by city ordinances and are accessible from a public way, according to City Planner Jeff Bagg. The property is owned by Dennis M. Courtney, trustee of a family trust that owns the land.

This portion of the property where the Starbucks will be located has been used as a golf driving range, a gravel parking lot and a 205-square-foot building designated for rental of golf equipment.

Originally listed as 93-99 Northampton St., the property has attracted a few proposals in the past few years, including a Stop & Shop plaza and a marijuana business.

When Stop & Shop halted its plans, Courtney listed the property in November 2018 for $3 million.

This past summer, Tasty Top, located at what’s now 97 Northampton St., reopened to the community under new management, with Nick Dulude leasing the property from Courtney. According to a previous report by the Gazette, the property survived a planned demolition and seven years sitting vacant. Future plans for the Tasty Top were not immediately clear this week.

With the proposal, the building for rental of golf equipment will be razed to make room for the construction of the 2,217-square-foot drive-thru establishment that includes an off-street lot with 33 parking spaces.

One of the big concerns that the Planning Board had with the planned Starbucks is traffic. At previous meetings, the board voiced concerns about long delays for cars exiting and turning left, which could create a queuing of cars that could potentially spill out onto Northampton Street.

“The only concern was the potential for arriving cars to extend into Northampton Street,” Bagg wrote in an email to the Gazette. “They’ve added a separate exit lane which will resolve the issue.”

Civil engineer Patrick Bogle of Boston-based firm Howard Stein Hudson and Rachel Miller, director of acquisitions for Alrig USA, a commercial real estate firm based in Bingham Farms, Michigan, presented the revised plans on behalf of applicant Gabe Schuchman to the Planning Board during Tuesday’s meeting.

According to the applicant, the site will likely generate 1,800 trips per day, which includes approximately 198 vehicle trips during the morning peak hour and 98 during the afternoon peak hour. Miller indicated that construction on the site would likely begin this summer.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.

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