Starbucks Planned For Hearth n’ Kettle Site

By: Ryan Bray

Topics: Orleans news , Economic development

The Hearth N' Kettle at Skaket Corners closed in 2016. Informal plans have been reviewed by the site plan review committee to demolish the building and build a Starbucks in its place. RYAN BRAY PHOTO

ORLEANS – The world's largest coffee chain could be coming to Orleans.

The site plan review committee has given an informal review to a concept plan for a proposed Starbucks at the site of the former Hearth n' Kettle on West Road.

George Meservey, the town's director of planning and community development who also chairs the site plan committee, updated the select board Oct. 13 on the plan from TRT Orleans, LLC, to tear down the existing restaurant and build a 2,200-square-foot Starbucks in its place.

"It gives you a lot of flexibility when you do that," he told the select board of tearing down the building.

The Hearth n' Kettle, which was a longtime staple of Skaket Corners, closed in 2016. The concept plan presented to the site plan review committee Aug. 18 shows parking for 31 vehicles as well as a drive-through lane that would wrap around the building. There are also plans for landscaping fronting West Road.

Stephen Glowacki, the project engineer, said the queue in the drive-through is expected to accommodate 15 to 18 vehicles.
The drive-through would require a special permit from the zoning board of appeals. Mike Moran, speaking on behalf of TRT Orleans, called Starbucks a "great tenant." He said post-COVID, having a drive-through will factor into the project's viability.

"That large format sit-down restaurant is something we like for our properties, but it's been tougher to attract [tenants] from a leasing standpoint given everything we've gone through," he said of Hearth n' Kettle at the Aug. 18 meeting.

The concept plan also shows space for a patio area, but Glowacki said it remains to be seen if that will ultimately be featured as part of Starbucks' plan.

In 2017, TRT Orleans brought plans before the architectural review committee for a 9,997-square-foot CVS at Skaket Corners to replace the Hearth n' Kettle. The proposal was ultimately withdrawn after the committee raised concerns with the size of the building and plans for a drive-through.

Meservey recommended that the proposed Starbucks building and drive-through be moved more to the left of the property, and that the patio be situated facing the street.

"I just know there was substantial discussion about this, and this might be a way to get to 'yes,'" he said.

The applicant has yet to file formal plans for the project, but Meservey said he expects that to happen soon.

Members of the site plan committee said formal plans should include specific details regarding current utilities in the Hearth n' Kettle building as well as those planned for the new construction, fire lanes, landscaping, sewer connections and kitchen floor plans.

"We'll look forward to a plan when you're ready," Meservey said.

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