For the second time in as many years, Seattle-based coffee empire Starbucks has scrapped plans for a new intown Atlanta location that would have replaced a vacant eyesore.

Starbucks filed plans with the city in late 2022 to build a new pedestrian-centric concept at 450 Moreland Avenue in East Atlanta with a focus on big shaded patios and curbside pickup, as opposed to larger interior spaces and a drive-thru.

Standing at that East Atlanta Village property now is an 1,800-square-foot, former Long John Silver’s restaurant that’s been closed for nearly four years. According to neighbors, it's devolved into an EAV nuisance where Moreland meets Metropolitan Avenue.  

Starbucks’ plans had called for a stark change: a 1,300-square-foot coffeeshop with abundant canopies and landscaped pathways connecting to adjacent streets.  

The former EAV fast-food property in 2021. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

Plans for the 450 Moreland Avenue location's nontraditional design filed with the city last year. City of Atlanta Office of Zoning and Development/2022

But according to a letter from Atlanta City Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari’s office addressed to the East Atlanta community this week and obtained by Urbanize Atlanta, Starbucks has terminated its plans to lease the Moreland Avenue property

The company’s decision was apparently driven by “changes to the development that [the Georgia Department of Transportation] required to accommodate emergency vehicles” on site, according to Bakhtiari.

The site is a pressing concern to neighbors because it’s become a dumping ground and encampment.

According to Bakhtiari’s letter, her office and city code enforcement have tracked down the holding company that owns the site and informed them cleanup is again their responsibility. City property records list the owner as a corporation named GKRM.

“If by some chance the company does not clean up their site by next week, we will be taking action to ensure this is still cleaned up and fining them,” notes the letter.

SRS Real Estate Partners/2021

City of Atlanta Office of Zoning and Development/2022

The ownership group plans to clean up and install a fence around the property soon, and to work with Atlanta police, Continuum of Care agencies, and Bakhtiari’s office to quickly rehouse people who’ve been living on site, per the city councilmember. 

For anyone experiencing déjà vu—it’s not you, it’s Starbucks.

In November, the coffee purveyor also cancelled plans to build a ground-up new bistro at another gritty intown location: the northeast corner of Boulevard and North Avenue, a busy intersection in Old Fourth Ward.

That Starbucks would have replaced a shuttered medical facility and empty 1940s home on .7 combined acres, incorporating a specialized drive-thru with a looping queue design.

Plans that had been in the works for more than a year were trashed by late 2022, but Starbucks never responded to Urbanize’s inquiries as to why.

On Boulevard, a modern-style doggie daycare is slated to replace the caffeine emporium that never advanced beyond percolation stages. 


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