The Seattle-based coffee house and retail chain has 21,000 outlets, in 68 countries, the latest being Vietnam and Colombia.
It opened in the UK in 1998, and now has 800 stores there. Starbucks first came to Ireland in 2005, opening in the Dundrum Town Centre. It later opened on Dublin’s College Green, and has expanded slowly since in Ireland. It had a concession in Cork Airport for several years, and has a presence in UCC — but, until now, has not had a Cork City centre foot-hold.
It’s understood to be still looking for several other Cork premises, although reports it would commit to the One Albert Quay office building, now under construction, have been dismissed.
However, Starbucks has committed to no 39 Princes Street, a double-fronted traditional shop close to the English Market’s arched, red-brick entrance.
It’s one of several, new food-related users on this busy pedestrian street, which links Oliver Plunkett Street to Patrick Street. It’s next door to the highly successful fresh salads, juices and coffee seller, Rocketman, which is run by local man, Jack Crotty, and is across the street from Sean Calder Potts’ food emporium, Iago’s, which relocated last year from the English Market.
Also arrived on Princes Street during 2014 were The Body Shop (in a corner building, since sold as an investment), and facing the Irish Examiner/Evening Echo’s public shop on the other corner with Oliver Plunkett Street, and JoJo Maman Bebe.
Already on this stretch of Princes Street are Fat Face, Ann Summers, Cummins Sports, Murphy Electrical and several shoe shops and fashion retailers, among other traders.
No 39 is next door to the historic Unitarian Church, for which plans have been drafted to make it more publicly accessible and to link it to the English Market to the rear.
(Meanwhile, agents Savills are close to finalising a deal on the former Capitol cinema site on Grand Parade, which stretches back to Patrick Street, and further links between that site and the English Market may be exploited in the site’s redevelopment).
Of Starbucks’s arrival in town, Lisney director Margaret Kelleher said “there was significant interest in the property, from fashion, accessories and footwear users. Starbucks really liked the shape of the building and its quirks, and were very pleased to locate on pedestrianised Princes Street.”
No 39 has been vacated by Kerry-based fashion retailer, Parafin, and previously had been occupied by Enable Ireland. In even earlier times, it had been a delicatessen, and a coffee shop.
Recently refurbished, no 39 has a surprising 1,660 sq ft, thanks to a long rear section, and rent sought had been in the order of €55,000 pa, and it’s understood a sum close to that was agreed.
As a matter of ‘storm in a coffee-cup’ Starbucks coincidence, the coffee chain’s name came from the character Starbuck, first mate on the ship Moby Dick in the 1851 novel by Herman Melville. The acclaimed 1956 movie version of Moby Dick was filmed in Youghal, Co Cork, by John Huston, starring Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, with Leo Genn as Starbuck.