When we reported Saturday that a Starbucks is being built in the Southgate Shopping Center parking lot, a lot of people asked whether the entrance and exit locations at Southgate would change. The short answer: Not anytime soon.
The shopping center entrances will remain on Oak Drive and Pablo Street, and Starbucks will not have a traffic entry or exit on Florida Avenue, according to city transportation planner Chuck Barmby.
A few minor modifications are planned, Barmby said: “The transit stop in front of the former Grow Financial outparcel must be upgraded with a new bench and bench pad … A center stripe will be needed within the existing driveway in front of Crowder Brothers to address the current situation where exiting traffic tends to block inbound traffic from entering, causing delays on Pablo Street.”
John Crossman, CEO of the Orlando company that manages Southgate, says there are no immediate plans to alter traffic patterns, but they’ll monitor traffic once the new business opens and consider any changes that become apparent.
Because a fast-food outlet such as Starbucks is allowed by right under the shopping center’s zoning, no review was needed by the city’s Planning and Zoning Board.
A traffic study of Southgate could be triggered when any of the vacant spaces there are leased in the future, Barmby said.
“Operationally, the Starbucks drive-through will generate additional traffic at the project driveways and that will be accounted for in the future analysis,” he said.
Fencing marking the Starbucks construction zone was installed Friday. The new 2,515-square-foot Starbucks will replace the one that opened several blocks away at Florida Avenue and Beacon Road 15 years ago. There’s no word yet on what will replace Starbucks at that intersection.
“For the past 15 years, the current constrained location has generated concerns from nearby residents who have experienced U-turns in their driveways attributed to patrons and other impacts since westbound traffic is prohibited from entering the site from Beacon Road,” Barmby said.
Construction of the building shell is expected to last until April, Jose Martinez, a representative of Tampa developer Boos Development, told The Ledger. After that, Starbucks corporate will finish out the interior.