Article and Photos by Karen Carr Keefe
Senior Contributing Writer
There’s a new buzz in town, now that construction is underway for a Starbucks coffee shop with drive-thru at the Tops Plaza at 2160 Grand Island Blvd.
The Island Dispatch contacted Benderson Development for comment on the project, but calls were not returned by press time.
Deputy Town Supervisor Pete Marston earlier this year confirmed that Starbucks is the prime tenant at the site.
The work is taking place in a fenced-off area of the plaza adjacent to the KeyBank branch.
Town Planning Board documents have shown that the coffee shop and likely another tenant are designated to occupy the site. A patio with canopy is designed for four to five tables out in front of Starbucks, according to the minutes of a Planning Board meeting in August 2022.
Councilmember Tom Digati, liaison to the Planning Board, said, “It’s definitely a two-tenant outbuilding that’s being built roughly where the existing entrance is to that plaza by KeyBank. So once this is done, that entrance will no longer exist.”
“If you’re standing at the Boulevard, looking toward the existing plaza, the Starbucks is going to be at the left half of the building,” Digati said. He also said Starbucks has not indicated to the town who the other tenant would be.
“The Planning Board kind of worked with them to turn some things around and modify their site plan because they have the dumpsters in the rear of the (new) building, which, although it’s the rear of their building, it’s the front of the other buildings in the plaza; so, they had concerns about that,” Digati said. “They moved those off to a separate area where they’ll be fenced in and a bit concealed.
“They did modify some of the traffic patterns to ensure the safety of pedestrians, particularly, maybe walking to and from the stores in the plaza there.
“As part of the project, they will also be piping in and covering the entirety of the ditch that runs out in front of Tops, so that will be a nice, added piece.”
Digati said he couldn’t project a timeline for completion.
“Initially, people didn’t really think it was going to happen, and now they slapped that sign up,” he said. “Some people are thrilled and there’s others that say, ‘Do we really need another coffee spot?’ We’ve had some other places that have tried and not succeeded, though they were small businesses rather than a big franchise like Starbucks.”
Construction vehicles were grooming the surface of the site on Tuesday.
Construction worker Matt Pleace with S & S Site Development of Holland said it was the company’s second day on the job in preparing the Starbucks site for the building to go up. He said the company is the general contractor.
“We’re putting the building pad in and we hand it over to the concrete guys,” he said.
After the building is constructed, S & S will likely “come back and do the backfilling and put all the pipe work in,” Pleace said.
“By the time they get everything done, it will be springtime,” he estimated.
Construction workers from S & S Site Development of Holland, New York, work on the future site of a Starbucks coffee shop at Tops Plaza, 2160 Grand Island Blvd.