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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A coffee controversy is brewing in Center City. It comes as construction started for a new Starbucks right on the skirt of City Hall at Dilworth Park.
The Starbucks is being built in the Southwest corner of City Hall. The Seattle-based chain will sit right across the street for La Colombe, which is a Philadelphia-owned coffee shop.
This has a lot of people scratching their heads.
“I really think it should be a local coffee shop,” Julie Platt, of Center City, said
Ground has been broken for Philadelphia’s latest Starbucks, and it has a lot of people steaming hot.
“There’s a coffee shop across the street, La Colombe. There’s a coffee shop in Dilworth Park,” a person said. “This is not serving us.”
That coffee shop is called Dilworth Park. It’s less than 500 feet away and already serves Starbucks coffee.
So does another coffee shop across the street from it inside Temple University’s Center City campus.
“Do we need another Starbucks? I like Starbucks too much, I think it’s a little much,” Richard Hernandez, of Center City, said.
Still, Starbucks loyalists point out the world-known chain can be comforting to tourists.
“I think Starbucks is comfortable,” Christina Grimers, of Hatboro, said.
“Starbucks is different from other coffee shops also because they have their signature drinks,” Izabella Vidal, of Conshohocken, said. “And some coffee shops just have regular coffee.”
But many people we talked to believe anything built so close to City Hall should have a local name to it.
“I think if people really want to get to know Philadelphia,” Platt said, “they should not be going to a Starbucks coffee.”
Conrad Benner, of Fishtown, wrote about the controversy on his photo blog that explores art and Philadelphia’s public spaces.
“It makes no sense to me,” Benner said. “It’s a park. It’s a public park. It should remain a public park.”
Inside the La Colombe, workers are confident when the new Starbucks opens, it won’t impact their sales.
“I think a lot of people do care about supporting their local industry,” La Colombe barista Amy Boguszewski said, “so I’m just glad that the city is conscious of that and I don’t think we’ll really be affected.”
The Starbucks was announced by the Center City District last week. The CCD was unavailable for an on-camera interview but wrote in a news release:
“Since opening in fall 2014, CCD has added to Dilworth Park’s amenities, landscaping and programming every year as the number of annual visitors has increased from 8,697,000 in 2015 to 10,878,000 in 2018. Dilworth Park has been transformed from a desolate plaza at the foot of City Hall into a welcoming meeting place and first-class transit gateway visited by 30,000 people each day, rising to more than 60,000 per day in the holiday season. In addition to providing cleaning, safety and landscape maintenance on Dilworth Park every day of the year, CCD creates a diverse calendar of events and programming to enjoy year-round.”
Dilworth Park Café operator Brûlée Catering, which is based in Philadelphia, will also run the Starbucks coffee shop.
Construction for the Starbucks should be finished in April.