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[whitespace] After months of speculation, Starbucks' plans are disclosed

Campbell--After clearing an almost Pentagon-like security that would strike terror into the hearts of X-Files agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, the Campbell Reporter has learned that national coffee empire Starbucks Coffee will be making a home in downtown Campbell.

According to Rhonda Rigenhagen, Starbucks community relations manager for Northern California, Starbucks will occupy 1,800 of the 4,100 square feet on the ground floor of the building at 267 E. Campbell Ave. Construction will begin this week, says John Machado, broker for Greg de Vries, owner of the building. The company anticipates October as its grand opening date. "Campbell is a community that has demographics similar to our customer base," Rigenhagen says. "We're excited to go in there."

When asked if the E. Campbell Avenue location was definite, Rigenhagen answered that plans would continue "provided we can get all the permits and everything."

To date, no lease has been signed, Machado says. Starbucks has also verified that fact. However, Machado informed the Campbell Reporter on Friday that the lease was with Starbucks' attorneys. They said they would review new changes and most likely sign early this week.

Rigenhagen confirmed that architectural plans were submitted to the city's Planning Department on July 20. The plans are being reviewed, according to Tim Haley, associate planner in Community Development. De Vries, president and CEO of DeVries Data Systems and owner of the building on E. Campbell Avenue, said he has also seen the submitted interior design plans. In an enigmatic move, Srdjan Rebraca of ACIES Engineering in Sunnyvale and Drew Padilla, project architect at San Francisco-based Huntsman Architectural Group, refused to disclose details or even refute what the Reporter had learned.

"I don't know how much information I can give you," Padilla said. "It's a very high-profile company."

The lease had originally specified Aug. 1 as the date to begin tenant improvements, but that date has come and gone, says de Vries. He says he is asking for $2.05 per square foot, but is still negotiating that figure with Starbucks. There are 2,300 square feet of space remaining for another potential tenant.

"We have a lot of people interested, but we haven't finalized anything yet," says de Vries, whose company occupies the second floor. "We've gotten everything from a small restaurant to retail. Some want office space, but the space is zoned for retail."

Campbell Avenue has seen a number of national chains cruise through its streets, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo Bank. There are several local chains on the Avenue, including Katie Bloom's, Mio Vicino and Orchard Valley Coffeehouse, which has another location at N. First Street and Trimble Road in San Jose.

John Benjamin, who co-owns Orchard Valley with Keith Cova, is concerned that stores such as Starbucks may be pushing mom and pop stands out of the area.

"It's known that people have a brand-name identification problem in this country," says Benjamin, whose coffeehouse has been on Campbell Avenue for 6 1/2 years. "Our regulars will stick with us; we do have a better product--they [Starbucks] know that."

Benjamin has built a steady clientele of locals who enjoy Orchard Valley's own blends of coffee, roomy interior, Internet access, big fireplace and breakfast and lunch entrees. Despite what looks like good business, Benjamin's brokers have told him to expect 20 to 35 percent gross losses when Starbucks eventually moves in up the street.

"A large percentage [of customers] is a transient type of person who doesn't have any real loyalty," says Benjamin. "When they drive around, they'll see Starbucks and stop there. I'm hoping there's enough local knowledge of how good we are."
Genevieve Roja

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