Overland Park & Leawood

Overland Park balks at proposed Starbucks design

Starbucks might be getting a little too green for Overland Park.

At its meeting Monday evening, the city council issued a continuance on a preliminary plan for a new drive-in only Starbucks to be built near 75th Street and Switzer Road, because council members felt the unusual design was too unattractive and the green stripes on the building were too self-promoting.

The building, which would be the third of its kind in the country, is planned to be constructed out of reclaimed composite materials and metal shipping containers.

The council will vote on the project in a month. In the meantime they hope the architects will conduct a traffic study, create a prettier exterior to the building and offer detailed proof on how the project will actually be sustainable.

One of the biggest concerns of the council was that the building was intended to have bright green stripes on it, almost like a logo.

The use of shipping containers as a building material was also a major worry for several council members.

For some, it was a safety issue.

“I’m intrigued and I find the idea very interesting,” said Councilman Curt Skoog. “I just hope the shipping containers are sound and won’t get rusty and fall apart.”

Others objected to the visual aspects.

“I’m worried people driving by will point and say, ‘Look it’s a bunch of shipping containers,’” said Councilman Fred Spears. “I don’t want it to look cheap.”

But Anthony Luca, an architect working on the project, pointed out that the use of shipping containers has become popular in recent architecture.

“I think there’s even a house in Kansas City entirely made up of shipping containers,” Luca, an architect with Davidson Architecture and Engineering, said about a house at 59th and Charlotte streets. “It’s not a remarkably new idea. It’s been around for a couple years.”

The unconventional buildings are Starbucks’ attempt to be green, he said. Similar designs have already been erected in Seattle and Colorado.

Some council members weren’t buying it, however.

“The way I see it, it’s capitalism,” said Councilman Dan Stock. “Starbucks is a for-profit company and cutting the cost of the building is just a way to increase profit.”

Stock was one of three council members to vote against the continuance. He, along with Dave Janson and Spears, wanted to vote against the project altogether.

Janson, in particular, said the building design was just too unattractive.

“If Starbucks can charge five dollars for a cup of coffee, they can certainly spend more money to make an attractive exterior,” he said.

Most of the council members liked the idea of a sustainable building, but they wanted more details on what exactly made it more ecologically and economically responsible.

The council will decide the fate of the proposed Starbucks at its July 1st meeting.