ITHACA, N.Y.—They say coffee culture thrives in cold, dark and cloudy places. No wonder why a new coffee shop is an easy sell in the city of gorges.

Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee shop megachain, has decided to pursue a new location in the City of Ithaca, in the former Pier One Imports storefront at 722 South Meadow Road in the city’s Southwest retail corridor.

According to building permit filings with the city of Ithaca, the project to renovate the Pier One space would subdivide it into two retail spaces. The eastern storefront would host the 2,000 square-foot Starbucks and a new drive-thru to be built to service the operation. The 7,038 square-foot western storefront would be renovated but not fully fitted out until a tenant is lined up. The project cost is estimated at about $358,000 and is being handled by DGA Builders LLC of Rochester on behalf of the shopping plaza owner, the developer for the project.

Starbucks currently has two shops in Ithaca, at 402 College Avenue in Collegetown, and 130 East Seneca Street in Downtown Ithaca. While the filing doesn’t mention the other two locations, the shop under construction appears intended to tap into a different segment of the Ithaca market, that being travelers along the heavily-trafficked Route 13 corridor (hence the drive-thru).

The building permit was issued at the start of July, and interior renovations and pavement excavations for the drive-thru lane are underway. A time-frame for project completion was not stated in the filing, but sometime before the end of the year is plausible.

At last check, Starbucks had nearly 33,000 locations in 83 countries, with nearly 350,000 employees. Last December, the coffee giant announced plans to add another 22,000 stores worldwide over the next ten years.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at