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Sentinel staff report–
Demolition crews were busy this week tearing down a former bank building on Sunrise Boulevard that was once proposed to become an ARCO gas station and car wash.
All that was left of the 9,500-square-foot multi-story building at the corner of Sungarden Drive and Sunrise Boulevard on Wednesday was a pile of mangled debris. An excavator could be seen scooping debris into a dump truck to be hauled away from the site.
Plans for the gas station were dropped in 2018, following more than a year of vocal opposition from nearby residents and business owners who didn’t want a 24-hour gas station and convenience store in their area. A new proposal for a coffee drive-thru and retail plaza was unveiled to residents at a community meeting last year, which was more warmly received.
“Coffee smells much better than gasoline,” said Nancy Graham, Area 9 past president, in a prior interview with The Sentinel.
The latest proposal calls for a new 7,900-square-foot retail building to be constructed at the site, with space for 32 parking spots on the south side. A preliminary site plan shows a wrap-around drive-thru lane circling the new building.
Starbucks is listed on documents submitted to the city, but it is unclear whether a lease has been signed. Architect Dan Goalwin, who drafted the plans for developer Edgar Rizkalli, in August said Starbucks had expressed conditional interest in the project as an anchor tenant in the proposed plaza. He did not immediately reply to an email on Wednesday inquiring whether a lease has now been signed.
City spokeswoman Nichole Baxter told The Sentinel the proposal is slated to go before the Planning Commission next week for approval, with the developer looking to move ahead “as quickly as possible.” She said demolition was performed “at their own risk” in advance of the project being approved, since the developer would be left with an empty lot if the commission were to deny the proposal — although Baxter said that would be unlikely.
“We got a lot of push back and negative feedback (on the former ARCO proposal) and we have not received that feedback from the community with these plans, so I’m considering that a win,” said Baxter.
More details about the project will be included in the Planning Commission’s Feb. 12 agenda packet, which is expected to be released on Friday. Additional details will be included in The Sentinel’s Weekend e-Edition this Sunday. Click here to sign up free.
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