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New Starbucks, urgent care facility proposed for Bell Circle

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  A new Starbucks and an urgent care center are being proposed for the American Legion Highway, as well as a new building for an existing Pizza Days restaurant. Developers were before the City Council last Monday night with plans for razing the existing buildings at 25 and 55 American Legion Hwy., including a vacant Bank of America, and replacing them with new buildings to house the planned businesses. The plan still has to go before the City Council’s Zoning Subcommittee for further discussion.

  If it gets approvals from the city, the project will take a little over a year, with the buildings being constructed in a phased approach. That phased schedule means Pizza Days will only have to close for about a week during construction.

  “The intention is to raze both buildings and produce a new retail development,” said developer Paul Kneeland. “On the nose of the property closest to the rotary is a new structure, and that’s a Starbucks coffee shop. We’ve entered into a letter of intent with Starbucks; we’ve got a lease that we are negotiating; and that’s a freestanding, single tenant building, and it’s intended to take some of the pressure off the store that is just south of the property [in East Boston].”

  Two structures farther from the rotary will share a wall, with the larger structure housing a Convenient MD urgent care facility, and the smaller building will be home of the relocated Pizza Days. As part of the project, Kneeland said, there will be changes to the curb cuts, including the elimination of a curb cut that has been used as a cut through from Everett Avenue to American Legion Highway.

  “It’s really a pretty small, straightforward retail development which is an expansion of what I did across the street [at 339 Everett Ave.],” said Kneeland. “We are hoping to get underway soon, maybe in the next few months if we can get the cooperation of the city.”

  Several councillors praised the project, with Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe stating he is happy to see an urgent care facility coming to Revere. Keefe said he is concerned about traffic from the Starbucks drive-through and would like to see a detail outside the coffee shop for the opening months of its business.

  Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro thanked Kneeland for taking extra measures to help Pizza Days remain in business during the construction. “As a small business owner … that is a really stand-up thing to do,” said Cogliandro.

  Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo praised Kneeland for his approach to development in the city and his past work at Bell Circle. “We talk a lot about development in the city, and developers, and oftentimes developers say they are going to do one thing, and then it often gets modified, then it gets forgotten about and then nobody up here remembers; the council up here changes, and then we end up with a completely different project,” said Rizzo. “From my experience in dealing with [Kneeland], everything [he] has said he is going to do [he] did and more.”

  Rizzo said he is also impressed that Kneeland has primarily focused on commercial redevelopment in the city. “Taking old buildings and old areas and making them vibrant again – these are the types of projects that are, for me, so easy to vote on,” said Rizzo. “It’s something that is going to make that area better and it’s going to clean it up.”

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