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Lam’s Garden Restaurant on State Street in Athens, Ohio.

Chipotle, Starbucks to join East State Street in Fall 2024

A new Chipotle and Starbucks development is set to open on East State Street at the end of 2024 with dine-in, patio and drive-thru accommodations.

The restaurants are being built side-by-side: the address of the Starbucks is 958 E. State St. and the Chipotle is 960 E. State St.. RPG Management LLC. is the real estate developer for the businesses.

According to RPG’s Facebook, site work began in March, and Deana Roush, chief operating officer of RPG, said construction of the building will begin in May. Construction will start with Chipotle then Starbucks, Roush said.

Aside from the added Chipotle there is already a Chipotle in uptown Athens, located at 41 S. Court St. There are also already two other Starbucks in the city, located at 16 W. Union St. and the in-store location at Kroger, 919 E. State St. Some people have voiced annoyance of adding another Chipotle and Starbucks to the city because of the current locations.

“Are we supposed to be impressed?” a Facebook user commented on RPG’s page. "We have two Starbucks and a Chipotle already. If you’re going to do corporate chains, at least do something new.”

However, Roush said the benefits of adding another Chiptole and Starbucks will combat the busyness of the current uptown locations. 

“Although the City of Athens has a Starbucks and a Chipotle uptown, both companies also wanted to be on East State Street in Athens,” Roush wrote in an email. “It makes sense to me as there is a large group of the population who do not visit either business in Athens due to their current locations. 

However, the only negative Mayor Steve Patterson said he heard from the new business is traffic congestion on East State Street. He said the street is the highest-trafficked street in Athens.

“I wish you could fix the traffic congestion,” one Facebook user wrote on RPG’s page. 

Patterson said adding the two corporate businesses helps Athens’ economy. He said the city’s general revenue comes from income tax, so adding the business creates more jobs and, therefore, more income tax revenue. 

East State Street is a major retail corridor and adding these restaurants to the area gives more options for commerce, he said. 

Patterson said he doesn’t think adding the corporate restaurants will become a problem for the local businesses along East State Street, such as Friendly Paws and Kindred Market. He said adding the businesses are part of the street’s corporate chain corridor.

“RPGs hope is for a mutually beneficial relationship between the business owners, the city and the people of Athens,” Roush wrote in an email. “We as developers understand that people in the city also want other businesses to come to town and we do too but we do not choose the businesses. We solely find the location and build the building for the businesses. Hopefully, Athens continues to grow and other restaurants and businesses choose to come to town.”

Patterson said the city approves the construction site. He said when RPG came to the city about building a Starbucks, the city informed RPG it would need its due diligence on getting the right assessments for the type of soil.

“(The area is) very slip-prone because the soils are not great,” Patterson said. “It's a hill and there were some other challenges up there with water runoff and a spring.”

Patterson said because of some of the site’s challenges, current construction includes building a substantial retaining wall, which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

“It has been a prolonged development process,” Roush wrote in an email. “There was a lot of engineering work that was required for the site. It also took a significant amount of time to get all of the city requirements and building permits. There were times that we thought it may not come to fruition but we are happy that it is.”


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