We've heard whispers in recent months about the fate of the former home of L2 on the northwest corner of 22nd & South, but nothing we could pin down. This week though, we heard from a reliable source that Starbucks will almost definitely be taking over the space. Plans are for a two-story coffee shop, which will represent the first Starbucks location on South Street West. This is certainly cause for celebration, because the current coffee options on the corridor stink on ice.
If we may be serious for a moment, the appearance of a Starbucks on this corridor will definitely have some symbolic power and could represent a shift for South Street West. Sure, Starbucks won't be the first chain to open on the corridor. A CVS opened at 22nd & South in 2012, and last year we told you about plans for Unleashed by Petco for 23rd & South. But Starbucks is, by reputation, a chain that directly takes on locally owned businesses. And on a corridor that's been built by neighborhood business, that's a major paradigm shift. Hopefully, Ants Pants and LaVa loyalists will continue to patronize those places, and the pie can grow big enough for everybody.
Remember like fifteen years ago when the other end of South Street was inundated by chain stores, and neighbors lamented the "Gapification" of South Street? We don't see such a thing happening on this side of Broad- South Street West has never been the same kind of retail destination that would attract those types of stores. Still, with Starbucks coming to the corridor, we imagine other national companies might take a longer look than in the past. One thing is certain- as with any commercial corridor- things will constantly change and evolve, and generally speaking, the retailers will try to give the people what they want.