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Common Council approves downtown's first coffee shop drive thru

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The South Bend Common Council favorably approved on Monday a drive thru coffee shop, which is a part of the plans for office space development in downtown South Bend.

The 50,000 square foot office space would be the newest downtown development in more than 20 years, according to developer Great Lakes Capital.

“We think it’s going to make a really big impact in the core of downtown,” said Jeff Smoke, director of development for Great Lakes Capital.

Smoke said the ground floor of the office building will be focused on retail, a high end coffee shop, and a restaurant. Smoke requested, on behalf of GLC, a special use execption from the Common Council for the coffee shop’s drive thru.

“It’s going to allow them to have a drive thru around the shop and so that is the execption they’re going to be looking for in terms of the drive thru,” said Councilman Oliver Davis Jr.

Davis said he thinks the drive thru is going to add to the office space. Common Council President Tim Scott said during the meeting his only concern with the drive through is traffic control.

“I can see long lines that might bottleneck on Main as well as Jefferson,” Scott told the council during the committee meeting.

However, developers said they don’t imagine the drive thru being overutilized because the coffee shop is targeting people who live and work downtown.

“We’re not in a surburban location, this is a downtown location,” said one of the developers. “We certainly hope there’s going to be enough residents and business people downtown that they’re going to walk up and get their coffee at the desk, as opposed to driving through downtown to get here.”

Smoke said there are a lot of interested users for the coffee shop but can’t share any names. He said they will announce the coffee chain once leases are signed in a few months.

Currently, the nearest coffee drive thru option is McDonald’s on Michigan Street near Beacon’s Memorial Hospital. Residents said they’d like to have more options.

“I get up early, you know, I have to be at work at like seven,” said Vito Hodge, who lives in South Bend. “I might go to Starbucks, the lines like way around the corner somewhere, then I have to leave so another coffee shop will be good.”

After Monday’s meeting, common councilmembers said the developers are free to purchase the lots and begin development. Smoke said they hope to break ground late first quarter.

 

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