First published in the Sept. 2 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
The city of San Marino has been approached by the Starbucks Corp. about the possibility of renovating the building at 2424 Huntington Drive that until 10 years ago housed the San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe, which relocated.
“We have gone through many renditions of the project and have settled on renovating and preserving the existing building,” said Aldo Cervantes, the city’s director of planning and building, on Monday morning during a virtual presentation to the San Marino Economic Development Committee.
Cervantes said Starbucks has shown an interest in preserving “a one-of-a-kind building” and that the store would be what Starbucks considers a “Pinnacle” property, employing solar power, reusing storm water and featuring other components of sustainability.
“These are very high-end and grandiose,” said Cervantes.
One desired feature that could be a non-starter is Starbucks’ desire to have a drive-thru lane, which is currently against codes in San Marino.
“We are looking at a code amendment that would be very site-specific for a project that would be only this size,” Cervantes said. “This will not open the door for more [drive-thrus].” Cervantes also said that if the property does not include a drive-thru feature, “Starbucks will most likely walk away from the project.”
Cervantes displayed preliminary drawings that show a drive-thru that enters and exits the property solely on Huntington Drive and would also include a sound wall on the south side of the building, near the residential area. Cervantes also referenced a “vast” amount of landscaping that would also screen cars entering and exiting the premises.
The 6,000-square-foot store would include indoor and outdoor seating, meeting rooms, study rooms for students and a mural inside the building that would be specific to San Marino.
“Starbucks and I have had discussion about how it can benefit the community,” Cervantes said. “People will say, ‘Look, this is our Starbucks and this is where we go.’”
Mayor Ken Ude, who also was present for the call, called the project “beneficial to the economic development of San Marino.”
“This will bring a lot of business into this area,” he said.
Cervantes reminded the assemblage that the city does not have an application for the project but pointed out the benefits of having “a potential customer who wants to preserve the building.”
The item will come before the City Council at its next meeting, which will take place Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 6 p.m.
San Marino currently has one Starbucks inside city limits, at 2265 Huntington Drive, across the street and approximately a half-mile from the proposed location. A Starbucks that was located at 3007 Huntington Drive closed in March 2019 and is now named Klatch Coffee. San Marino Toy & Book relocated to 2476 Huntington Drive and is still in operation.
Cervantes said Starbucks officials had not disclosed to him any plans for the surviving San Marino store if the Pinnacle project goes through.