Starbucks Coffee Company will be the new tenant in the former McDonald’s outlet in Gibsons Park Plaza at 1100 Highway 101.
The coffee giant’s plans were disclosed in a staff report presented at Gibsons council’s Oct. 15 committee of the whole meeting, and chief administrative officer Mani Machado confirmed Wednesday that the Town had received an application from Wesbild, owners of Gibsons Park Plaza.
“We’re processing an application for a coffee shop on that site to replace the former McDonald’s restaurant,” Machado said.
The site will retain its drive-through window, although the Town’s revised zoning bylaw does not permit a drive-through for new buildings.
“That site is grandfathered under the bylaw,” Machado said.
He said he expects the development permits to be processed in about 60 days, but the timing of the actual construction will be up to the applicants.
Machado said he didn’t know what Starbucks was planning for its existing outlet in Sunnycrest Mall, and the company did not respond to an interview request.
The Starbucks proposal was cited in a report from director of engineering Dave Newman that recommends revising the subdivision and development servicing and stormwater management bylaw, adopted earlier this year.
“The proposed works to the old McDonald’s building will consist of exterior improvements without increasing floor area (with the exception of an outdoor patio) and will likely be in the region of $300,000,” Newman said in his report.
The recommended revision to the bylaw would address “an aberration that exists where developers wishing to complete relatively minor upgrades to properties may be responsible for disproportional costs associated with frontage improvements.”
The former McDonald’s site was one of two examples in the report “where developers have initiated projects that essentially are makeovers of existing buildings with no change in use and yet are faced with significant offsite construction costs.”
The report recommends that frontage improvements for “selected development types” be calculated at five per cent of the construction costs.
In the case of the Park Plaza site, the bylaw would require about $100,000 in frontage improvements, including a provision for cyclists on Payne Road and repaving of Payne to the centreline. Staff would support dropping those requirements, Newman said, and require only a change in streetlights to LED lighting and installation of tactile warning strips for the visually impaired at the intersection and access points, at an estimated cost of $15,000, or five per cent.
While the allowance could be made through a variance approved by council, the bylaw revision would be the preferred approach, Newman said.
Machado said the proposed bylaw revision is a unique attempt by the Town to “find a practical alternative that provides the right balance,” with pedestrian connections and pedestrian safety remaining a priority.
“The change is that the requirements to upgrade the site will be more realistic for what already exists there,” he said.