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Drive-Thru Coffee Coming to Ft. Wright - but Brand Not Yet Public

There will soon be a new place to drive up and drive off with a hot cup of coffee in Ft. Wright, but developers are mum about which business will operate it. 

Midland Atlantic Properties only describes it as "a nationally recognized user specializing in the sale of coffee."

According to its website, Cincinnati-based Midland Atlantic has located and built thirteen Starbucks locations in Indiana. Clayton Riney, of Midland Atlantic, declined to say for certain which brand would locate in Ft. Wright.

Similarly, Ft. Wright City Administrator Jill Bailey said that, "It has been has been widely speculated that the coffee user will be Starbucks but we are unable to confirm that currently."

"We are hoping to make an official announcement in the near future but currently all we have available to share is what has been presented to (the Kenton County Planning Commission)," she said.  

The Kenton County Planning Commission (KCPC) gave its blessing to a revised stage-one development plan on a roughly 1.25-acre site at the southeast corner of the intersection of Valley Plaza Parkway and Highland Pike.

One of the documents submitted to KCPC for consideration includes a reference to a Starbucks in a 2,200-sq. ft. building and how much parking would be required to accommodate that.

Midland Atlantic hopes to construct a 2,200-sq. ft. restaurant with driver-thru for the "coffee user". The plan is also unique in that it utilizes a drive-thru lane from a neighboring business, Citizens Deposit Bank.

The plan also calls for shared parking among four businesses there: the coffee user, Citizens Deposit Bank, BB&T Bank, and Buffalo Wild Wings. There already exists a cross-parking agreement which will be expanded to include all four of them.

"We are excited about this particular opportunity," Midland Atlantic's Riney said during last week's KCPC meeting, held virtually. "I'm a resident of Ft. Wright and we certainly like to help them facilitate this project."

Riney said that his firm has been working with Citizens Deposit Bank and Planning & Development Services of Kenton County (PDS) for over a year, with a meeting in March of 2020 being the last such meeting he can recall as having taken place in person prior to the pandemic's disruption of such things.

"It took about twelve months to get everybody's approval with it," Riney said. There was particular attention paid to "stacking" of cars in drive-thru lanes, he said.

KCPC Chairman Paul Darpel applauded the creativity.

"I love the creativity," Darpel said, with the drive-thru starting on the other side of the bank. I hope it works, but the signage I think will be an issue. But once people are used to it, they won't think twice about it. Driving on the other side of the bank we'll have to get used to."

Citizens Deposit Bank is also on board with sharing some space to accommodate the forthcoming coffee user.

"We are very satisfied with the end results here and are looking forward to getting this project moving ahead and getting it completed," said John Pielsticker, executive vice president at Citizens. The bank will still maintain a drive-thru lane of its own for both a live teller, and an automated teller machine (ATM). "We're giving up the inside lane to the new user and we'll still have two lanes on the outside."

KCPC's favorable vote was unanimous. With Ft. Wright issues before the planning commission, there is a unique mechanism by which KCPC's votes are put into action. While KCPC is a recommending body and most other cities in the county typically vote on their recommendations afterwards, Ft. Wright does not, and KCPC's decision becomes the law within twenty-one days unless someone appeals. 

No timeframe for construction was offered.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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