For years, if not decades, downtown denizens wanted a Starbucks.
There were all kinds of postulations as to why one would never open, such as there aren’t enough people who live downtown or most people who work downtown get their coffee on the way there, not once they arrive.
Finally, though, Wichita is getting a downtown Starbucks — full size though sans drive-through — at the southeast corner of Douglas and Topeka in the new Hilton Garden Inn.
“Everything’s full go,” says Sumit Patel, who is opening the business with his father, Mitesh Patel.
The two are also partners with Raju Sheth in the hotel.
“This is a full-service Starbucks,” Sumit Patel says.
That means it’s not a kiosk as you might see in other hotels or stores.
“It’s a pretty standard size,” Patel says.
The Patels are working on getting a couple of 5-minute parking spaces in front of the business since there’s no room for a drive-through.
Starbucks is taking about 1,300 square feet in the corner of the hotel right at Douglas and Topeka, and it will have an outside entrance.
“It’s right on the prominent corner in downtown,” Sumit Patel says.
“We just think it’s a great addition to downtown Wichita, and it’s a great addition to our building.”
Starbucks will be near where Mead’s Corner closed late last summer.
“That was a very high-traffic coffee spot,” Patel says.
Starbucks will have about 37 seats inside and another 14 on a sidewalk patio.
The Patels also are planning a rooftop restaurant for the hotel but haven’t made a deal for one yet.
“We’re working on that right now,” Sumit Patel says.
The 127-room hotel is still under construction and will open in early summer. The Starbucks opening will follow in the fall.
There’s also another 1,524 square feet of commercial space to lease on the ground floor. Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate is the broker on that space.
He says the Patels did not use a broker for the Starbucks deal.
“I was impressed they got it done,” Simon says.
About a decade ago, he was one of several people attempting to lure Starbucks downtown.
“Everybody’s been trying to get them downtown forever,” Simon says. “And they got it done.”