Despite speculation in April of this year, it appears that Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt will not move in to the former location of Alpha Omega Jewelers in Harvard Square—instead, city records indicate that a Starbucks Coffee Company shop may occupy the prominent storefront.
On Thursday, September 30, the Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeals will hold a public hearing to discuss the application for a special permit to convert the retail space at 1380 Mass. Ave.—which has stood empty for two years—into a Starbucks.
According to Elizabeth M. Paden, a land use planner for the Cambridge Community Development Department, Starbucks is considered a “fast order food” establishment, which requires a special permit from the BZA.
“Whether or not it will be granted is hard for me to say,” Paden said. “There’s been no public comment, no public hearing.”
Among several other criteria, including specifics about physical design and community safety standards, the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance stipulates that fast order food establishments must fulfill “a need for such a service in the neighborhood or in the city.”
Given that there are already two other Starbucks stores within 500 feet of the proposed location—one of which was renovated last year—some might question whether such a need exists.
“I guess people need more coffee,” Paden said.
While many Harvard students can be seen toting Starbucks cups across campus, some seem underwhelmed by the possibility of another location in the Square.
Steven Surachman ’11 said a third store, so close to the others, would not be useful, while other students lamented the encroachment of large corporations in the community.
“I’d rather see it be an independent establishment,” Davida Fernandez-Barkan ’11 said.
The managers of Starbucks stores currently located in the Square could not be reached by press time.
—Staff writer Katherine M. Savarese can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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