The seven parking places in front of Starbucks in the center of Doylestown Borough could be relocated and the bumpy, grey Belgian block area replaced with something far greener.
Officials, including the owner of the property, Richard Lyons, Starbucks and the borough, have all said they’d like to see the ideally located spot be transformed into a “green space,” where people could gather, sit and relax and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the town.
“The idea’s been received very nicely by the borough,” said Lyons. He has owned the historic Fountain House, home to Starbucks on the first floor and apartments and a law firm above, for about 15 years.
Starbucks spokeswoman, Sara Autro, said in a recent statement, the mega-coffee corporation is on board.
“We are grateful to have been a member of the Doylestown community for more than two decades and take great pride in contributing to the town’s development. We fully intend on supporting this green space.”
The parking area has long been a civic center for the community, said John Davis, Doylestown’s manager. “It’s the center of town, the Christmas tree goes there, speakers and demonstrators gather there.”
Built in 1758, The Fountain House originally included a tavern. It served as the town’s first post office and was a stop on the stagecoach line, connecting Philadelphia and Easton. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
Lyons said he was inspired years ago by Heather Walton, owner and partner of Class-Harlan Real Estate, which borders the building, to transform the parking area into a more park-like setting. “She said, why don’t you make it green in front of Starbucks?” after visiting New England towns that had green spaces in their town centers.
Asked, why now? Lyons joked, “I’m a slow learner.”
He is planning a “facelift” of the four-story property next year and said it’s a good time to consider moving the parking spaces to the nearby borough parking lot and creating a small park in their place. Parking is always a serious issue in the small borough, but Davis said, “if there’s a will by all parties, it (parking) can be overcome.”
There’s much that has to fall into place before the project moves forward, those involved agreed. Davis said the community will have an opportunity to weigh in on ideas and a process will be established for that dialogue.
“There seems to be a community consensus that this is a good idea,” said the manager. Acknowledging that the project will be a challenge, he said, “we would love to have the opportunity to take it on.”