Makeover brewing for Highland Park’s “depressing” Starbucks

Higland Park Starbucks architecture review 8-9-2014 10-36-20 AM

HIGHLAND PARK — Stung by criticism about the design of its new York Boulevard store, Starbucks officials have pledged to remodel the shop that has been derided as “the most depressing Starbucks in America.”

Highland Park architect Catherine Garrison, who was highly critical of the new store’s design in a review for The Eastsider, met with Bill Sleeth, Starbucks Vice President of Design For The Americas and company spokeswoman Haley P. Drage to hear about the company’s plan to improve the store.

“They wanted to tell me about their plans to redesign the Starbucks,” said Garrison, who met with the Starbucks executives at the Highland Park store on Wednesday morning.  “The plans sound good and I think HP will end up with a much better community space as a result.”

The drive-thru Highland Park Starbucks, which is located in the former Classic Burger restaurant, was dinged for lacking an indoor dining room, an awkward layout, inferior building materials, and, according to Garrison, “a tragic pastiche of design” that showed “a lack of respect for the neighborhood.”

How is Starbucks going to fix the Highland Park Starbucks? Garrison provided a summary of the changes:

  • Additional storefront windows where customers order which will increase contact with employees. There will be one window to order and another to pick up.
  • Relocating and screening the bathroom door
  • Removing salvaged windows and installing roll-up doors
  • Converting the planter in front to sidewalk seating and creating two pedestrian entrances of the sidewalk.
  • Replacing the roll-up metal doors with two large recycled wood doors that slide barn door style.
  • Enhancing the side patio experience through a trellis and lighting

Company officials told Garrison they plan to start working on the store soon.

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  1. Anyone who claims this to be the most depressing Starbucks in the nation clearly hasn’t been to the one in Lucy’s in Echo Park. Get a grip, folks.

  2. Nooooooooo! HP is not worthy of such charity! We love our ghetto “Worst looking Starbucks in the world”! Say it aint true? Oh my, this is terrible… where will the drug dealers go? Oh, the humanity…

  3. Mt. Angeles Resident

    The reclaimed windows are one of the better features of the reno. So now rollup doors are being installed? UGH.
    How about putting some color on the building and sprucing up the landscaping?

  4. Is this a joke? This doesn’t sound much different or better than what is there right now. Very disappointing news and I hope they still reconsider this a bit more. It’s a real bummer there will be no indoor seating.

  5. Kudos to Starbucks for listening and taking action, but I know we would all really like to see a proper indoor seating situation. I think at the heart of this uproar is the lack of a beautiful, indoor, comfortable place to sit inside and enjoy a cup of coffee. I am impressed that Starbucks is trying though, but I know I am not interested in driving through nor sitting outside on the patio on a busy street while I enjoy a cuppa joe. The new windows and doors sound great and situating the bathroom elsewhere, but I have to admit, a walk-up window (not a proper counter) and lack of a designated indoor seating environment just doesn’t seem appealing at all to me. It sounds like a fast food place.

    • That is what Starbucks has become. They envisioned a european style bistro but America wants their coffee flavored milkshakes and 24oz lattes. Fast food style coffee served from a stucco box is what this place was designed to be and will continue to be after they tart it up with some new barn style doors..

      Interestingly, I think the milkshakes from Jack in the Box next store are not only tastier but have an air conditioned space to sit down and talk.

  6. Your stor is a slap in the face. South pasadena has a nice store where you can walk in to order and sit inside or out side.. Our Highland Park Your blve store is cold and I won’t be going there untill you can walk inside to see and smell the products.. It would have been better that you never open the store.

  7. This is an improvement and Starbucks does deserve credit for taking action BUT it’s still not a proper indoor climate controlled store. Given all the incredible progress HP has made in these last few years, Starbucks is really coming off as out of touch with the current trends in the neighborhood.

  8. better known as ghettobucks….


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