Chipotle and Starbucks are coming to East State Street in Athens

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Chipotle and Starbucks are officially coming to East State Street in Athens, a year after the developer had hoped to have the businesses up and running.

The two franchises will be located side-by-side on a lot across from Lowe’s with respective drive-thrus and dine-in space.

The lot previously had been occupied by a used car dealership, which is no longer in business.

A company plans to develop this lot on East State Street, across from Lowe's, for Chipotle and Starbucks franchises.
A company plans to develop this lot on East State Street, across from Lowe’s, for Chipotle and Starbucks franchises. [Morgan Anderson | WOUB]
The developer, RPG Management, will be building the site and Chipotle and Starbucks will lease it from them. The timeline of when construction will begin remains undetermined.

In January 2022, Christopher Roush, a co-owner of RPG, said construction was expected to begin last spring with the franchises opening sometime between September and December.

But there were a few issues with the site that required the plans to go back to the Athens Planning Commission to get approved for modified site plans.

Due to the size and landscape of the site, RPG and the city engineer concluded they would need to excavate some of the soil to level out the site, put in a retaining wall to prevent the hill behind the lot from sliding, as well as other preparations to make the land suitable for a new building. The new additions to the site cost almost an extra $1 million.

David Riggs, the city’s director of code enforcement, said RPG got approval for its modified site plan at the end of March and expects construction to begin any time now.

WOUB contacted RPG several times about the construction timeline but received no response.

“They’re ready to go,” Riggs said. “That delay was really from issues with the site. It’s a really difficult site to develop from an engineering development standpoint. But I think they’ve got a project ready to go and we’re waiting on them to pull the trigger to get started.”

The modified site plan that was approved in March also accounts for any expected traffic issues on East State Street, Riggs said.

“We want to make sure we don’t create a traffic issue with these new developments,” Riggs said. “We want to try to catch those upfront as much as we can. Otherwise, once the development is in, if we end up with a traffic problem, it’s our cost to try to fix that.”

Riggs said the city’s goal is to continue to expand East State Street.

“If you have a positive emphasis on creating new jobs and new development, people will see that and will want to come in,” Riggs said. “This was really the next place in that expansion ring of business on East State Street.”