Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correctly reflect the number of Starbucks stores in the Capital Region market. A previously published version included only stores in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Downtown will get its first Starbucks in 2017, when the Courtyard Marriott opens at the corner of Third and Florida streets. The hotel’s developers confirm that a Starbucks will anchor the hotel’s 1,425-square-foot ground-floor retail space, which will have an outdoor seating area and access from both streets.
When the store opens it will be the 13th Starbucks in nine-parish Capital Region, and the fourth licensed, or franchise, store in the area. Windsor Aughtry Hotel Group, which is developing the 135-room Courtyard Marriott, will own the store, though Starbucks regional business development manager Troy James says customers shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a company-owned store and a franchise location.
“The only difference is that the employees don’t work directly for Starbucks,” he says. “Everything else is the same. There is no delineation.”
Starbucks has long wanted to enter the downtown market, and the Courtyard project presented the perfect opportunity, James says. Marriott and Starbucks already have a partnership so the deal was something of a no-brainer, he says. Starbucks will join two other locally owned coffee store chains, PJ’s Coffee, which has a location on the ground floor of The Shaw Center, and CC’s Coffee House on North Boulevard.
“The Courtyard development is fantastic and the future of downtown is very exciting, and we’re happy to be able to work with a partner that we have a long and successful relationship with,” James says.
The Starbucks announcement is the latest feather in the cap of Downtown Development District Executive Director Davis Rhorer, who championed the hotel and has long wanted to see development on the underutilized corner of Florida and Third streets, which he describes as “Baton Rouge’s ground zero.”
“Their announcement to locate on the bottom of the Courtyard Marriott is an example of how investment spurs additional private investment,” Rhorer says.
The Metro Council cleared the way for the Courtyard last week, when it approved a tax increment financing measure to help fund construction of the hotel. Windsor Aughtry has told Daily Report it expects to break ground on the hotel within the next four months and hopes to have it open in time for the 2017 football season.