The owner of a historic meeting hall in Tumwater says coffee giant Starbucks is interested in using the more than 100-year-old structure for a future location.
That’s according to commercial real estate broker Tom Schrader, who bought the property and the Chambers Prairie Grange No. 191 at Yelm Highway and Henderson Boulevard in October 2015.
Starbucks typically likes to develop its own buildings, but after company officials visited the site, the property won them over, he said. He now has a letter of intent with the company for a 2,500-square-foot store on the site, “saving as much of the grange as possible,” Schrader said.
A letter of intent is not the same as a formal contract, but Schrader is still bullish on the project, predicting it has a 90 percent chance of coming to fruition.
Starbucks’ plan, he said, is to bring a “reserve store” to the site, which would provide a wider range of food and coffees. It also would have couches where customers could sit and stay, he said. In addition to the store, there’s also plans for parking and a drive-through.
In order for that to happen, Schrader is set to acquire property next to the site from The Farm, a neighborhood subdivision whose homeowners association voted 81-8 to approve the sale.
By acquiring the additional property, it improves overall vehicle access to the site. Schrader described access before as limited, but now it’s “full access.”
“My intent for that Farm property has always been that it would improve traffic going into the grange rather than through the farm subdivision, and to make it a better and more safe experience for people using the grange Starbucks,” he said in an email.
The project appears to have momentum again after it ran into some roadblocks early on.
Tumwater officials at one time wanted Schrader to address the fact the property overlapped public right of way by three and a half feet, which created a “whole new set of problems” for the project.
But Schrader sang the praises of Mayor Pete Kmet Monday after he met with him and offered his support for keeping the grange.
Kmet on Monday said that was a “fair characterization” of their conversation.
Schrader has some work ahead of him. He is set to meet with Tumwater development officials Wednesday on the remodel of the grange and still needs to have The Farm property rezoned.
Kmet said city has agreed to accelerate the zoning request so that work can begin on a building that really needs it.
“With Briggs YMCA across the street, the new 55-and-over apartment complex kitty corner, and the Pioneer Park fields just down the hill — along with 35,000 vehicles a day at the intersection — this new grange Starbucks should serve the community well for years to come,” Schrader said.