A new Starbucks is coming to Rohnert Park. The Planning Commission gave the green light Thursday night for a new mega-coffee shop chain to be located at the corner of Rohnert Park Expressway and Commerce Boulevard, in between Black Bear Diner and Jack in the Box — bringing the number of Starbucks in Rohnert Park to six.
According to Marilyn Ponton, the 17,000 square-foot store that sits on nearly one acre, is replacing a former Wendy's that shuttered a few years ago.
Ponton said the coffee shop chain includes parking for 28 cars cars, a drive-thru, Wi-Fi, five bike parking spots, facade improvements and a three-foot high screen planting around the perimeter of decorative trees and outside seating.
"This paved site in the Sonoma Gateway Center has been vacant for several years and distracts visually from the appearance of the shopping center from Commerce Boulevard," said Marilyn Ponton, the city's planning and building manager. "This proposal will be an attractive addition to the area."
"We expect a lot of patron activity," she added.
Planning Commissioners cheered the new business in town.
"One thing that really struck me ... as someone that's been in this town for a long time — I was really drawn to the orientation of the building, the way it's directed away from the street. I think it's a really smart use of the space," said Commissioner John Borba.
He added that neighboring businesses need the boost of patrons in the area.
Commissioner Gerard Giudice agreed.
"I think it's a fabulous new use of the space, I think it'll help attract tenants in the shopping center to the back," he said. "I'm very excited about this project."
Commissioner Susan Haydon said it's great that there's another space being built for community gathering.
The plan is exempt from a California Environmental Quality Act analysis. The project still has to be approved by City Council.