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.
â€œThe existing condition is the Bank of America branch, which recently closed,â€ said Kneeland. â€œItâ€™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.â€
Kneeland said the intention is to demolish both structures â€œand produce a new retail developmentâ€ â€“ 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.
â€œItâ€™s a pretty straightforward, small retail development which is sort of an expansion of what I did across the street,â€ said Kneeland. â€œWeâ€™re hoping to get underway with this soon, maybe within the next few months, if we can get the cooperation of the city.â€
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 â€œreconstruction of a non-conforming structureâ€ for the Starbucks store and â€œa replacement of a non-conforming structureâ€ for the Convenient MD site.
Osgood said a traffic analysis of the site has been completed. â€œAs a whole, there will be 75 vehicle trips less than during the 24-hour period that there is now,â€ said Osgood.
Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro said he was excited about the urgent care facility being proposed.
â€œI believe our community needs one, and as small business owner I want to thank you for what youâ€™re doing for Pizza Days, giving them a new facility. Thatâ€™s a very stand-up thing to do.â€
In response to Cogliandroâ€™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. â€œBut 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,â€ said Keefe.
Kneeland pledged that he would work with city officials to make sure the launch is successful.
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo remembered Kneelandâ€™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.
â€œWe talked a lot about development and developers, and oftentimes developers say theyâ€™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 â€“ everything you said you were going to do you did and more. Youâ€™ve done a tremendous job here.â€
Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo also praised Kneeland for his previous commercial project on Everett Street. â€œI will be voting for this project,â€ said Rotondo. â€œYou have my full support.â€
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. â€œIt takes up the whole breakdown lane,â€ Morabito told the developer.
Kneeland expects construction to take 12-14 months for the two properties.
Council President Gerry Visconti said Revere residents â€œhave been waiting for a full-service, free-standing [Starbucks] buildingâ€ in the city.
Visconti requested a copy of the traffic study be distributed to the Council before the Zoning Subcommitteeâ€™s upcoming meeting, which is the next stop for a review of the proposal by city officials.
â€œWe welcome the store, and the development and redevelopment of that area is great for the city,â€ concluded Visconti.