BOYLE HEIGHTS — The plans to remake the Sears store at Olympic Boulevard and Soto Street into an upscale residential and commercial center is perhaps the most dramatic example of the changes in store for the neighborhood. But just across the street from the Art Deco landmark is a smaller but more immediate example of neighborhood gentrification: It’s a banner with the Starbucks logo and the words “Coming Soon.” Yes, it looks like Boyle Heights will be getting its very first, free-standing Starbucks in what had been a Burger King.
A photo of the banner has triggered a lot of response on All Roads Lead to Boyle Heights on Facebook. Could it be a hoax? In this case, it looks like the real deal, with the city’s Building & Safety Department issuing a permit for “tenant improvements … for new Starbucks coffee shop,” which apparently will include a drive-thru.
Starbucks coffee is already being sold in the north end of Boyle Heights inside a food court that serves the USC Health Sciences campus. But the outlet at the northwest corner of Olympic and Soto will be a free-standing store.