Starbucks Staying Put During Cushing Village Build

Like the little house in the Pixar film, “Up,” the Cushing Square Starbucks Coffee cafe will stay put at its current location as the proposed Cushing Village development – the three building, 186,000-sq.-ft. residential housing, retail and garage complex – goes up around the popular cafe, according to a town official.

And when Starbucks does move, it will not require 20,000 balloons but a few hand trucks to transport the shop as it will go into one of the newly-completed building.

According to Glenn Clancy, Belmont’s director of the town’s Office of Community Development, Starbucks will remain in the former Friendly’s restaurant structure at 112 Trapelo Rd. “with relocation coordinated with the construction of the new buildings.”

The announcement comes as developer Acton-based Smith Legacy Partners withdrew its application before the Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals last week to temporary relocated the busy Cushing Square Starbucks to a pair of store fronts at 6-8 Trapelo Rd.

Residents who have been critical of the proposed relocation plans by Cushing Village’s developer Chris Starr to place the national coffee retailer to the corner of Belmont Street and Trapelo Road across from the neighborhoods where they live.

“We are pleased that the proposal was withdrawn and that [Mr.] Starr seems to have found a way to uphold his original statements that Starbucks would not need to relocate during construction,” said a joint statement to the Belmontonian from four neighborhood residents.

Since the proposal was made public at the May meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals, residents voiced their concerns the store would generate additional parking on nearby side streets while promoting greater trash and litter, creating safety issues and other nuisances.

The development team was scheduled to present the latest proposal incorporating mitigation plans on Sept. 9.

By pulling its application, the developer has “withdrawn without prejudice which means they retain the right to resubmit in the future should they choose to do that,” said Clancy.

The town has yet to receive the development team’s new development scheme or construction timetable.

“[W]e are waiting on final confirmation,” Clancy told the Belmontonian.

The neighborhood group is also waiting to catch the latest word on the development team’s plans.

“Commenting on a possible future proposal would be premature, though the arguments made by the neighbors remain valid, and we will, of course, closely monitor developments over the coming months,” said the group made up of Rita Carpenter, Doug Koplow, Mark Clark and Dr. David Alper.

Developer Drops Plan To Move Starbucks … For Now

A controversial proposal before the Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals to relocate the Cushing Square Starbucks for nearly a year to a site near residential neighborhoods near the intersection of Belmont Street and Trapelo Road was suddenly scuttled this week by the applicant, developer Smith Legacy Partners.

But a source within Belmont Town Hall noted Smith Legacy’s action could lead to a new proposal being brought before the ZBA in October.

The developer’s withdrawing the requests scheduled to be heard at the ZBA’s Sept. 9 meeting agenda shuts the door on Smith Legacy’s proposal to decamp Starbucks to a pair of store fronts at 6-8 Trapelo Rd.

The move was deemed necessary as construction is reportedly scheduled to begin in October on Cushing Village, the 186,000 sq.-ft. multi-building residential/retail/parking complex being built by developer Chris Starr, Smith Legacy Partners’ lead partner.

The developer’s trial balloon, first floated in May, was met with considerable consternation from residents who live on nearby streets during a pair of ZBA meetings in May and June. Residents believed the store would have a negative impact on parking while generating greater trash and litter, creating safety issues and other nuisances.

ZBA members also expressed concerns on placing the busy cafe in a semi-residential area where a popular ice cream business would be just a few feet away.

While an initial assessment of Smith Legacy’s action would appear to close the door on the developer’s attempts at relocating the popular store, a Town Hall insider said the move can be seen as a strategic retreat.

If the ZBA denied Smith Legacy’s application at the Sept. 9 meeting, it would have been effectively barred from returning back with a similar proposal for the next 24 months, said the Town Hall source.

By withdrawing the application, Smith Legacy can submit a new plan to the ZBA at the board’s following meeting. Just how significantly different a new proposal will need to be – in terms of location, size and parking – will become clearer with a closer examination of the ZBA’s rules and regulations, said the source.

E-mails and calls have been sent to Smith Legacy and the town. Return to the Belmontonian for updates on Friday morning, Aug. 22.

Zoning Board Tells Developer to Finalize Starbucks Move Before Returning

Eric Smith had enough.

The Zoning Board of Appeals member had been unhappily listening to the representatives of Cushing Village – the proposed 186,000 square foot, three building residential/retail/parking complex in the heart of Cushing Square – who is seeking to temporarily relocate the popular Starbucks Coffee Cafe at 112 Trapelo Rd. up the street while the development is being built.

He, his fellow board members and about 40 residents who filled the Belmont Gallery of Art in the Homer Building Monday night, June 16, were hearing from Development Consultant Gerry Pucillo, representing Cushing Village developer Chris Starr’s Smith Legacy Partners, discussing a last minute agreement with Belmont officials to construct temporary parking spaces – how many remains a matter of dispute – on the traffic island across from Moozy’s Ice Cream in an attempt to resolve concerns of parking and traffic many in the nearby residential neighborhoods have with Starbucks coming to the new location across from Trapelo Road and Pine Street.

(Smith Legacy Partners is representing Starbucks before the ZBA in requesting a pair of special permits at 6-8 Trapelo Rd., the first to retrofit the facade and window and the second is to operate a restaurant in a non-conforming zoning location.

But as Pucillo and Cushing Village architect Peter Quinn discussed the proposed parking solution which was “agreed to” earlier in the day with Belmont’s Town Engineer Glenn Clancy, it became apparent to White that the board’s request to the development team at the May public meeting to return with solutions that could be discussed and voted on would not be forthcoming at Monday’s June meeting.

“From what I was hearing, we were going to spend a lot of time and end up going nowhere again,” said Smith to the Belmontonian after the meeting.

About 25 minutes into the discussion, Smith spoke up, suggested to ZBA Chairman William Chin that despite what was being said, Pucillo was not presenting “an actual parking proposal in front of us right now” nor was he addressing Board of Health  concerns on placing a second dumpster in the area.

“We have spent a lot of time this evening hearing a lot of comments but it seems to me that we don’t have a concrete enough plan to act upon,” said Smith, asking that Smith Legacy return once again to the ZBA at which time they can finally resolve the ongoing concerns from neighbors and town boards and officials of the propose move.

It was a decision that Chin wasted little time in agreeing to, asking that, once again, a parking plan be developed, the issue with trash collection, deliveries

What was learned during Monday’s meeting was:


• A proposed parking solution agreed to between Smith Legacy and the Office of Community Development would create a limited number of angled parking spaces – the developer is claiming they only need six spaces to meet zoning requirements while the ZBA believes the number closer to eight – in the town-owned traffic “island” that borders the entry to Watertown’s Oakley Country Club and is across from Moozy’s. No trees will be harmed in the construction of the spaces – which would be on the Oakley side of the island – according to Pucillo, and the spaces would be removed after Starbucks is relocated.

But as a town official noted to the Belmontonian, while Community Development can suggest this solution, it would ultimately be up to the Belmont Board of Selectmen whether to approve the use of town-owned land for this proposal.

• Once Starbucks returns to its new “home” in Cushing Village, the site will “revert back to retail spaces” and not remain a site for a new restaurant or cafe, said Pucillo.

• Starbucks employees will be reserved five parking spaces at the VFW lot, at 310 Trapelo Rd., across from the Belmont Fire Department headquarters and take the MBTA’s Route 73 bus to the relocated site.

• Pucillo said that construction on Cushing Village will begin in October, the same month Starbucks “must relocate at the latest.”

While residents did get to speak on many of the same issues they expressed a month before, Oak Avenue’s Rickland Powell and David Alper both asked if Starbucks will benefit from the special permits, that it should come before the residents to “give concrete answers” to their questions, said Alper. 

Starbucks Trapelo Road Store Moving As Cushing Square Development Starts

In the first-clear evidence the proposed 186,000 square foot-Cushing Village project in the heart of Belmont’s Cushing Square is set to get underway, the developer of the three-building residential, retail and parking complex will seek town approval to relocate for a year the Starbucks Coffee store at 112 Trapelo Road adjacent to the municipal parking lot to a currently occupied store front near the intersection of Belmont Street and Trapelo Road.

In a public filing with the town’s Community Development department, Chris Starr of Smith Legacy Partners is requesting two variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals to alter the entrance to 6-8 Trapelo Rd. and allow a temporary restaurant with 30 seats to be located at the site.

Starr states that the plan “is to have Starbucks return to Cushing Village” in 2015 when building is completed on the first structure of the complex which will occupy the municipal parking lot.

When Starbucks decamps back to Cushing Village, Starr said in statement that the improved site “will then continue to be used for the new use granted under the Special Permit.” It is not known what eatery that will replace the national coffee shop in 2015.

The meeting will take place on Monday, May 19 at 7 p.m. in the Belmont Art Gallery on the third floor of the Homer Building in the Town Hall complex.

There is no date in the documents when the move will take place.

The relocated Starbucks will occupy just under 800 square feet with occupancy for up to 52 people. It will be located just two store fronts from Moozy’s Ice Cream & Yogurt Emporium which is located at the corner of Belmont and Trapelo. 

The new location will not provide off street parking which Starbucks has at its current location

The relocation site houses a tailors store and a jewelers.

“It’s so exciting,” said Yun Cao, who owns the small Herb Spa located next to the site. “I am a small business so this will bring customers,” she said.

Located at the corner of Common Street and Trapelo, Cushing Village – which will also provide 245 parking spaces, 37,500 square feet of stores, a small grocery store, a fitness and health spa and a restaurant – was approved by the Planning Board in July 2013 after an 18-month hearing process. To date, the only activity to have taken place on the proposed development site has been remedial environment clearing.

Starbucks’ Chief Honcho in Belmont? Hmmm

The rumor is that Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz was in Belmont Center Monday night, most likely dining at il Casale restaurant. Despite there being a great little Starbucks store across Leonard Street from the first-rate eatery, he didn’t stop by; but then it was past the store’s closing time.

No word from Starbucks’ PR Department about Schultz’s travel plans – they tend to be tight-lipped about everything – Schultz is known to attend events at the Harvard Business School and has been working with a B-School professor on some future plans so a Boston sighting is not that unusual.