A Starbucks coffeehouse is planned at 2510 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines. The coffee shop will include a glass-enclosed drive-thru and a patio area. Architectural rendering by Simonson & Associates Architects

A proposal to rezone a lot along Des Moines’ Ingersoll Avenue to allow for the development of a Starbucks coffeehouse elicited a backlash from some community members who raised concerns that the national retailer would take business away from locally-owned coffee shops in the area as well as increase vehicle traffic.

"We don’t need another Starbucks," area resident Jaylen Cavil told Des Moines City Council members this week. "We don’t need Ingersoll to become like Mills Civic Parkway [in West Des Moines]. We need to keep the local businesses and shops on Ingersoll."

Added resident Leah Plath: "This is not a very safe area for people who walk or ride bikes. The traffic there is congested and we don’t need more businesses that aren’t local to Des Moines filling up an area that could otherwise be pretty unique and safe."

Cavil and Plath were among seven people who spoke against the rezoning proposal during the time allotted for public comments. At least one other person had requested to speak but wasn’t allowed because time for public comments had expired.

Woodsonia Acquisitions LLC requested that the property at 2510 Ingersoll Ave. be rezoned to allow a drive-thru for the Starbucks. City documents indicate Woodsonia Acquisitions is purchasing the property and plans renovations that exceed 50% of the building’s assessed value of $107,000.

According to a city document, when renovations exceed 50% of a building’s value, the site must be brought into conformance with current zoning standards.

The Plan and Zoning Commission approved the rezoning request in February. The City Council approved the request this week.

The property, with a total value in 2019 of $413,000, is owned by the Noah and Sara Ann Lacona Revocable Trust.
The 3,873-square-foot building, constructed in 1987, once housed a Hardee’s fast foot restaurant. Abelardo’s Mexican Fresh (pictured) is currently located in the building. Abelardo’s is open from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. It’s not known whether Abelardo’s, which has several locations in the Des Moines area, would relocate its Ingersoll Avenue restaurant.

Redevelopment plans include enclosing the drive-thru window area on the building’s north side with a roof and glass wall that complement the proposed building renovations. Landscaping and a patio are proposed between the public sidewalk and the drive-thru lane.

A streetscape project is currently underway along Ingersoll Avenue. The three-year, $17 million project began a year ago and will be completed in 2022. The project includes reconstruction of Ingersoll Avenue between Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and 31st Street, installation of new storm sewers, sidewalk widening, upgraded bus stops, burying overhead utility wires, new pedestrian crossings, landscaping and elevated bike lanes.

Council member Josh Mandelbaum, whose ward includes the Ingersoll Avenue area, said city planners worked with Woodsonia Acquisitions to "better integrate [the proposed Starbucks] site with the streetscape."

Mandelbaum said because a drive-thru already existed on the building, the city couldn’t deny Woodsonia Acquisitions’ rezoning request.

"I don’t anticipate there being any other grandfathered drive-thru locations like this on the Ingersoll corridor," he said.

Council members did not address residents’ concerns about increased vehicle traffic that could be created by the proposed Starbucks.

A Starbucks coffeehouse is planned at 2510 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines. Landscaping is designed to integrate with the Ingersoll Avenue streetscape project. Architectural rendering by Simonson & Associates Architects