Starbucks store planned for Route 120 at Centerra

A artist's rendering of the planned Starbucks at the Centerra Marketplace in Lebanon, N.H. (Site plan submission to City of Lebanon)

A artist's rendering of the planned Starbucks at the Centerra Marketplace in Lebanon, N.H. (Site plan submission to City of Lebanon) City of Lebanon

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 04-15-2024 8:01 PM

LEBANON — Starbucks hopes soon to be serving from triple grande locations in Lebanon and Hanover.

The ubiquitous national coffee chain is working to open its third location in the Upper Valley, this time on Route 120. Construction is expected to get underway once developers square away some final details with the city.

A drive-thru and small sit-down cafe is to be built in the Centerra Marketplace parking lot. The 2,273-square-foot Starbucks would be tucked inside the “Y” where Centerra Parkway and Morgan Drive split from each other on space currently allocated for parking, according to the site plan on file with the city.

The store is targeted to open later this year or early next, according to Starbucks and the owner of Centerra.

The shop will be located to take advantage of commuter and patient traffic going into and out of nearby Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center via Lahaye Drive, as well as drawing in Centerra office park workers.

A traffic study produced for Centerra owner Crosspoint Associates estimates that the new Starbucks would attract about 100 additional vehicles per weekday and 450 vehicles “on a typical Saturday” into the parking lot, which also serves a Coop Foodstore and a state liquor outlet, among other retailers.

Despite the extra traffic, resulting delays for motorists in the area around the Route 120 intersection are expected to be four seconds or less, according to the traffic study.

“We have a long history of working with Starbucks in many of our shopping centers and look forward to collaborating with them here in Lebanon,” Kerry McCormack, director of development for Crosspoint Associates, said via email to the Valley News. “If all goes well, they may be pouring coffee at Centerra Marketplace before the end of the year.”

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McCormack said developers are in the process of hiring a general contractor for the project.

“Once we’ve made the selection, we’ll have a more definitive start date, but the expectation would be to start construction this May,” he said.

Seattle-based Starbucks confirmed it is planning to come to Lebanon, too, although it is more cautious about when the new location might be ready for customers.

“Starbucks is always looking for great locations to better meet the needs of our customers, and we are happy to confirm that we will be opening a new location” in Lebanon, adding it expects to open “during spring 2025.”

The Starbucks at Centerra has been in the works since late 2022, when Crosspoint, the Needham, Mass.-based real estate investment company that owns the commercial park, submitted its site plan to the city. The site plan was approved by the Lebanon Planning Board in January 2023.

Crosspoint has until two years from the date of site plan approval — January 2025 — to satisfy all pre-building Planning Board conditions of approval, obtain a building permit and begin construction.

Tim Corwin, Lebanon’s deputy planning and development director, said Crosspoint’s first application for a building permit was “disapproved” because the Planning Board’s conditions of approval had not yet been satisfied. He didn’t specify which of the five pre-building permit conditions the board ordered still needed to be satisfied before the property owner can submit the building permit application.

Crosspoint’s plan for a drive-thru Starbucks in a shopping center block echoes the drive-thru Dunkin’ that opened in Miracle Mile Plaza in 2022 and is situated to scoop up motorists along Mechanic Street.

Rob Taylor, land use and community development administrator for the town of Enfield, said that utilizing shopping center parking lots to build new drive-thru services is a trend in community development.

“We overestimated the need for parking spaces and this is a good way to put underutilized property to work,” Taylor said, adding that he expected the Starbucks at Centerra to do “cranking business” thanks to its location at one of the busiest traffic corridors in the Lebanon-Hanover area.

The first standalone Starbucks store — excluding where the brand has been available in-store at another business — opened in Hanover in 2012, and that was followed by a second store on Route 12A in West Lebanon in 2018.

Starbucks has more than 16,000 locations in the U.S. and in the past year has added more than 50 0 drive-thru locations, company executives said during an earnings call with investors in January.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.