Starbucks seeks to knock down former Royal's building

A Starbucks coffee shop is planned for the property that was formerly home to Royal's Hearthside. (Staff Photo by Robert Layman)

A Detroit-based developer has plans to put a Starbucks on the site of the former Royal's Hearthside restaurant. The landmark Rutland restaurant went through a couple of incarnations, and the space has been vacant since 2012. The plan, filed with the Rutland City zoning office, calls for tearing down the 118-year-old building and replacing it with 6,000-square-foot new one. The coffee chain has a handful of locations in the greater Burlington area. "They've wanted to be in that market for a while," said Brandon Schram of developer Alrig USA. "It's a very good corridor. A lot of people travel through there. ... They feel this is one of the best corners." The application would also merge the lot Royal's sits on with the adjacent lot that holds its parking area. Starbucks looked at the vacant Short Stop gas station across the street in 2006, but that plan was stymied due to access and right-of-way issues. Schram said he was not involved in that plan and had no knowledge of it. “We’re looking forward to doing our first project in Rutland,” he said, putting the project’s budget at around $3 million. Schram said they looked at alternatives to demolition, but the property was not configured in the way "national retailers need." "We looked into that and we talked about it," he said. "We know how much that building means to the city, and we're sensitive to that." That project includes not just a Starbucks with a drive-thru window, but a "fast, sit-down style restaurant." "We don't have anyone specific in mind at this point, but we work with all the national retailers, as well as local and regional ones." Schram said. The proposed Starbuck's is a few doors down from the spot targeted by another eagerly anticipated chain, Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The restaurant's plans for the Mobil station at the corner of West and Main streets goes before the city Development Review Board on Wednesday alongside the Starbucks proposal. City Building Inspector Robert Tanner said the owner of that property will remove the tanks before the developer builds an addition to accommodate the burger chain. "(The tanks) had to come out anyway because they hit the 40-year age limit," Tanner said.

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