The City Council reacted favorably to a proposal by developer Paul Kneeland to construct a new drive-in Starbucks coffee shop at 25 American Legion Highway and a new urgent care facility and pizza shop at 55 American Legion Highway.
Kneeland, manager of Karbell LLC and made a digital presentation of the proposed redevelopment of the property where Bank of America operated a branch just off of Bell Circle. Kneeland said he has great familiarity with the site, having developed the adjacent property at 339 Everett St. approximately 15 years ago.
“The existing condition is the Bank of America branch, which recently closed,” said Kneeland. “It’s been there for several years. The adjacent property is a multi-tenant property which currently has a pizza shop (Pizza Days) in it, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a church, and has had various other uses, including a gym.”
Kneeland said the intention is to demolish both structures “and produce a new retail development” – consisting of a Starbucks coffee shop, Convenient MD, an urgent care center, and the relocation of Pizza Days. The retaining wall currently separating the two properties will be removed.
“It’s a pretty straightforward, small retail development which is sort of an expansion of what I did across the street,” said Kneeland. “We’re hoping to get underway with this soon, maybe within the next few months, if we can get the cooperation of the city.”
Civil engineer Ben Osgood of the Ranger Engineering Group said the development team was seeking the granting of a special permit from the City of Revere for “reconstruction of a non-conforming structure” for the Starbucks store and “a replacement of a non-conforming structure” for the Convenient MD site.
Osgood said a traffic analysis of the site has been completed. “As a whole, there will be 75 vehicle trips less than during the 24-hour period that there is now,” said Osgood.
Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro said he was excited about the urgent care facility being proposed.
“I believe our community needs one, and as small business owner I want to thank you for what you’re doing for Pizza Days, giving them a new facility. That’s a very stand-up thing to do.”
In response to Cogliandro’s query about parking on the sites, Osgood said Starbucks would have approximately 17 parking spaces and the urgent care would have about 33 parking spaces for a combined total of 50 spaces.
Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe also noted the significance of having an urgent care facility in the city. “But I do feel with the initial excitement of the new Starbucks, if you would be willing to offer peak service [police] details until the initial traffic subsides,” said Keefe.
Kneeland pledged that he would work with city officials to make sure the launch is successful.
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo remembered Kneeland’s first successful business interaction with city officials at Bell Circle. Rizzo gave Kneeland high marks for his excellent work as a developer and a redeveloper.
“We talked a lot about development and developers, and oftentimes developers say they’re going to do one thing and then it gets modified, and then it gets forgotten, and the Council changes, and we wind up with a completely different project. I just want to say from my experience in dealing with you, Paul – everything you said you were going to do you did and more. You’ve done a tremendous job here.”
Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo also praised Kneeland for his previous commercial project on Everett Street. “I will be voting for this project,” said Rotondo. “You have my full support.”
Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito suggested taking a look at the parking and entrance-point dynamics at the Starbucks store on McLellan Highway in East Boston as a way of avoiding traffic tie-ups. “It takes up the whole breakdown lane,” Morabito told the developer.
Kneeland expects construction to take 12-14 months for the two properties.
Council President Gerry Visconti said Revere residents “have been waiting for a full-service, free-standing [Starbucks] building” in the city.
Visconti requested a copy of the traffic study be distributed to the Council before the Zoning Subcommittee’s upcoming meeting, which is the next stop for a review of the proposal by city officials.
“We welcome the store, and the development and redevelopment of that area is great for the city,” concluded Visconti.