New Starbucks planned at former restaurant site in Dubuque

Plans to open another location of a national coffee chain are in the works in Dubuque.

A developer aims to soon construct a new Starbucks at 2075 John F. Kennedy Road, according to Alex Hofer, an attorney with O’Connor & Thomas Law Firm in Dubuque. Hofer is representing the location’s developer, The RMR Group.

“Plans are in the works for the development of a new Starbucks to replace the closed Pizza Hut location,” Hofer said. “… We’re still in the planning stage with the city. We’re hoping to have the final city sign-off in the near future.”

The Pizza Hut at 2075 JFK closed in 2017, and the building has been empty since.

The RMR Group submitted a planning application to the City of Dubuque earlier this year for the new franchise location on behalf of the property’s owner, SVCN 2 LLC, according to the application. Both entities are listed on the application as being based in Newton, Mass.

Attempts to reach officials either for the developer or property owner were unsuccessful, as were attempts to get a comment from Starbucks.

The application was discussed at a recent Dubuque Zoning Advisory Commission meeting, during which commission members approved the waiver of parking lot landscape requirements for the site. The developers made the request to maximize parking and traffic flow, meeting minutes state.

The planning application states that the existing building will be torn down, and a new, 2,225-square-foot structure will take its place. The location will include a drive-thru, 24 parking stalls, bicycle racks and an outdoor patio area.

Hofer said the development of the new Starbucks is expected to take place over “the next few months” and hopefully will have a quick construction period. However, an opening date has not been confirmed.

There already are five Starbucks locations in the city — a standalone location at 2620 Dodge St. and locations inside Target and all three of Dubuque’s Hy-Vee stores.

“Dubuque has a strong market,” Hofer said. “We’re excited to bring in more local jobs and more convenience for the people in that area.”

Wally Wernimont, city planning services manager, said a traffic study is being conducted to ensure the planned drive-thru meets city requirements and won’t cause traffic disruptions.

“We want to make sure there are no issues with vehicles backing up into the street,” he said.

The Starbucks on Dodge Street created traffic issues after it opened in 2018.

City officials issued the company a citation in 2020, alleging that Starbucks had created a public nuisance as long drive-thru lines obstructed traffic. However, the $750 municipal citation was dropped last year after a two-lane drive-thru was created, and the frontage road north of Starbucks has remained closed to help with traffic.

Hofer said plans for the JFK location took traffic into account.

“At this point in the plans, we’re thoroughly prepared to have no issues with traffic,” he said. “In fact, we think this location will help resolve some of the traffic issues of that (Dodge Street) location.”