Business

Coffee shop planned for Lexington’s East Main Street; seeks drive-through

The site at 473 East Main Street has been vacant since 2011. It could soon be a coffee shop, although the city board of adjustment must decide whether it can have a drive-through.
The site at 473 East Main Street has been vacant since 2011. It could soon be a coffee shop, although the city board of adjustment must decide whether it can have a drive-through. Photo provided

A coffee shop with a drive-through is proposed for 473 East Main Street, the former site of the Cielito Lindo restaurant.

Cielito Lindo closed in 2011, and the building was later demolished. The building had been the subject of controversy in 1983, when area residents and then-Mayor Scotty Baesler opposed construction of McDonald’s on that site. Baesler called McDonald’s actions “dastardly.”

McDonald’s got to build its restaurant, but without a drive-through. It renewed its request for a drive-through in 1988, and again it was denied.

The latest application for the Main Street site is filed with the Lexington board of adjustment as a request for a conditional use for a drive-through for the coffee shop. City planners have not yet issued an opinion about whether they favor or oppose the drive-through.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 31.

Developer Phil Greer said the site would host a coffee shop and a retail site. The coffee shop would be more than 2,000 square feet, the retail space close to 4,000 square feet.

Greer said he would like for the retail space to be “a high-end jewelry store, but it’s not a done deal.”

Greer said he couldn’t divulge the name of the coffee shop; however, he has two Starbucks in Lexington, one at 3939 Tates Creek Road and one at 2703 Richmond Road.

The board of adjustment documents say that the typical number of daily customers for the Main Street site would be 380. The coffee shop would be open from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Starbucks officials said they could not immediately confirm that the coffee shop is a Starbucks.

“We will be sure to follow up as soon as we have more details to share,” said an email from the Starbucks media relations department.

Greer said his plan has drawn positive response from the neighborhood, including from the stockbrokers and attorneys in the building next door and the residents of the Woodlands condominiums across the street.

He said that a previous plan for the site, which included a bank with a drive-through, was approved by the board of adjustment.

“I’m just trying to find the right fit for the neighborhood,” Greer said. “So far we’re getting some good feedback.”

Council member Jake Gibbs, who represents the area, said he expects resistance for the drive-through from the Bell Court neighborhood.

“I tend to be opposed to drive-throughs anyway, just from an ecological perspective,” and drive-throughs promote additional car exhaust and litter, Gibbs said.

Members of the board of the Bell Court neighborhood association couldn’t be reached for comment. A spokesman for Mayor Jim Gray said he had no comment on the requested drive-through at this point.

Cheryl Truman: 859-231-3202, @CherylTruman

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