Starbucks Has Promised Design Improvements for Its "Depressing" Highland Park Store

The Highland Park Starbucks on York BoulevardEXPAND
The Highland Park Starbucks on York Boulevard
Andy Hermann

Changes are brewing (zing!) at the new Highland Park drive-thru Starbucks, in the wake of a flurry of national media attention that roasted (hey-o!) the ugly, repurposed structure, calling it “the most depressing Starbucks in America.”

Representatives of the coffee retailer have promised to give the beige stucco building a shot (OK, we’ll stop now) in the arm with several design improvements, including separate order and pick-up windows and a new façade that does away with the current hodgepodge of salvaged windows. They even took the added step of meeting with one of the location’s most incisive critics, Highland Park–based architect Catherine Garrison, to fill her in on their improvement plans.

“The plans sound good and I think HP will end up with a much better community space as a result,” Garrison told The Eastsider, the website that originally commissioned her to review the location.

See also: The “Most Depressing Starbucks in America” Isn’t All That Depressing

Among Garrison’s concerns that Starbucks has promised to address: moving the bathroom, which is currently the seating area’s most prominent feature, off to one side, and installing roll-up doors that connect the building’s façade to the sidewalk, making the front patio area more inviting.

Also, the building’s side patio reportedly will be spruced up with a trellis and better lighting, and wooden, barn-style doors will replace the current roll-up metal doors that close up the front patio during off hours.

The plans do not appear to include indoor seating, something many Highland Park residents believe was promised during neighborhood council meetings last year.

In the wake of all the negative press, Starbucks responded quickly, telling KTLA News, “We agree this store is not representative of this neighborhood, and are committed to taking specific actions that will address the concerns we’ve heard.”

No word yet on when the improvements will take place. 


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