COTTONWOOD -- Starbucks is trying to corner the coffee business at the intersection of Arizona 89A and SR260, at the former home of the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce.
The building is sandwiched by Giant, Black Bear Diner and Home Depot and is in one of the busiest intersections in the Verde Valley
The Cottonwood Chamber abandoned the funky Western-designed building when they moved a year ago. The property has been for sale since.
A zoning change sign outside the building on Wednesday announced the intention of Starbucks to move into the busy location. Starbucks has a Cottonwood store in Safeway.
The City of Cottonwood Planning and Zoning Commission will make a decision on the Starbucks request at its meeting on Aug. 20, explained Jim Padgett, a planner for the City of Cottonwood who said Starbucks has filed building plans. Then the City Council will get a first reading on Sept. 18 and second reading of Oct 2.
The Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce moved out of the building one year ago because the building was built in the early 1980s and was “in terrible shape,” Christian Oliva del Rio, chamber president/CEO, told The Verde Independent in July 2017.
In the same Verde Independent story, Oliva del Rio also said the property was very difficult for tourists to drive in and out of because of the busy intersection and access.
“We had so many visitors that told us that they’ve driven right past us because they couldn’t figure out how to get in,” he told the Independent. “It’s a bad intersection, it’s a dangerous intersection.
The Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce moved from its long-time home on SR 260 to the new offices on nearby at 849 Cove Parkway last year. The new location is on a side-street, but provides larger offices, a conference room and a parking lot for tourists in vehicles and RVs to park.
Padgett said the Chamber is still the current owner of the property, which is actually two parcels of property. The building sits on .35 acres and is zoned C-2 (Heavy Commercial) and there is a separate .59 acre piece next to it which is zoned PAD (Planned Area Development).
The two zoning changes on the two properties will combine them into one property, which is zoned PAD, Padgett said.
In September 2017, the Cottonwood City Council identified the 89A-260 intersection as “the No. 1 transportation priority in the Verde Valley.” Improving the intersection of SR 89A and SR 260 was a project that Cottonwood staff asked the City Council to consider recommending as a top priority.
A city staff report on the SR 89A and SR 260 intersection concluded:
• The growing congestion in the intersection is not only an inconvenience to the traveling public, but becoming a threat to public safety personnel’s ability to respond quickly.
• This intersection services the main commercial corridor of the Verde Valley and will have a substantial impact on business and business development in the area.
• As normal growth continues the intersection level of service will continue to decrease.
• ADOT is planning on directing traffic from I-17 to Sedona through Cottonwood after the SR 260 project is complete, which will substantially increase the load on this intersection.