New coffee/pastries shop proposed for Wright Dunbar

A property being used as conference center in the Wright Dunbar business district could become a new coffee shop that also serves pastries, ice cream and sandwiches.

Dayton’s Board of Zoning Appeals has approved a variance and conditional use request to allow a drive-thru on the rear of the property at 1100 W. Third St. in support of a proposal to turn it into a restaurant that sells coffees and other treats.

The potential tenant, who has not been officially identified, could invest around $500,000 into the property, and a drive-thru would be critical to the business’ success, said Erica Hubler, director of real estate and property management with Wright Dunbar Inc.

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The interested party, who is seeking private investors, has another shop in the Dayton region that serves coffees, lattes, teas, donuts and other treats. Hubler said about 40 percent of the other business’ sales come from its drive-thru.

“This for them is a deal breaker,” Hubler said, referencing the tenant’s need for a drive-thru.

The Wright Dunbar business district now has 26 businesses. All of the district’s space for lease is occupied.

But Wright Dunbar is home to just one restaurant: Texas Beef & Cattle Co.

There are 10,000 visitors each year to the Dayton Aviation National Historical Park, but the district is not fully capitalizing on that foot traffic because it lacks amenities visitors are likely to patronize, Hubler said. The property is across the street from the historical park.

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A coffee and snacks shop would be a great addition to the districts, Hubler said. There’s also many homes in very close walking distance, located in the historic district.

“A lot of people want coffee, a lot of businesses want coffee, a lot of residents want coffee,” Hubler said. “They want a place to go to sit and meet, hang out and co-working space.”

The building at 1100 W. Third St. hasn’t had a tenant for a long time, but it has been used as meeting space. The building has 6,800 square feet of space. A conceptual site plan for the new restaurant includes an outdoor patio space.

Some local business and property owners submitted letters in support of the variance and conditional use requests.

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However, the West Priority Land Use Board voted to recommend denial of the application over concerns about traffic and safety.

Deirdre Logan, who lives half a block from the property on South Williams Street, said she does not want a drive-thru in her neighborhood.

She said standards exist for a reason, and the zoning board’s approval could set an unfortunate precedent because other businesses surely would like drive-thru facilities as well.

“That’s a great location for a restaurant,” Logan said. “I want to make it clear: I’m not opposed to the restaurant, I am opposed to the drive-thru.”

But the Board of Zoning Appeals voted in favor of approving the requests, with some conditions.

They required the elimination of parking on the rear of the building and required some landscaping to screen the drive-thru to try to provide a buffer from the residential properties.

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