Words & Deeds

After neighbors protest, Starbucks kills proposal for new Boise drive-thru

Starbucks has axed plans for a new drive-thru coffee shop at 1806 W. State St., the site of North End Chinese Restaurant, which would have been torn down.

On Tuesday, Confluent Development submitted a brief letter to the city of Boise formally withdrawing the application.

The change of plans is a victory for Boiseans who opposed the project. In a letter to the city in December, the North End Neighborhood Association and West Downtown Neighborhood Association urged the Boise City Planning and Zoning Commission to deny a conditional-use permit for the proposed drive-thru. The project would have included demolishing North End Chinese — which remains open — and an adjacent building, which used to house A.E. Hudsons antiques shop.

It wasn’t clear whether Starbucks pulled out because of local opposition. The withdrawal letter gave no reason.

During debate about the project, North End residents explained that they weren’t averse to a new Starbucks — just a new drive-thru. There’s already a Starbucks across the intersection at 1797 W. State St.

North End Chinese has a drive-thru, but a new one from Starbucks might have had greater impact.

“We fully recognize that there is an existing drive-thru at this location,” they wrote. “However, just because past generations made bad planning decisions doesn’t mean we have to continue making the same bad choices. Here is where the auto-oriented uses along this stretch of the State Street corridor should end.”

With the drive-thru project canned, it seems logical that the old Starbucks across the street will stay open — albeit without a drive-thru, which it’s never had.

North End Chinese will keep serving food for the foreseeable future. Linda Bosley, who has waitressed at the restaurant for 12 years, says Starbucks’ retreat means the lot is back on the market.

“All systems go until somebody buys the property,” she says.

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