Kitty-corner Vancouver Starbucks to close down

The kitty-corner Starbucks outlets that have been a feature of Vancouver's Robson Street for more than a generation will soon be a thing of the past as one of the locations shuts down.

One of the Robson Street Starbucks duelling since the late 80s ends run

The 24-year run for this Starbucks on the southwest corner of Robson and Thurlow ends next month. (CBC)

Vancouver will soon no longer be a city that has two Starbucks outlets kitty-corner to each other.

One of the duelling coffee shops at Robson and Thurlow streets will close at the end of May due largely to a planned rent increase that has proved too steep — even for one of the most successful companies in the world.

Employees of the store on the southwest corner, underneath the Red Robin restaurant, were told Sunday night that the outlet will close at the end of May after a 24-year stint at that location.

The Starbucks that has occupied the northeast corner for 23 years will remain.

"The lease was coming up. They couldn't come to agreement and so we are closing down," said employee Rodney Liong.

Starbucks said it's not because sales were down.

"There was enough business to stay open, absolutely," said Starbucks vice-president Cindy Bokitch.

The details of the new lease demands are confidential, but CBC has learned that some Robson Street owners are demanding rents of up to $250 per square foot, or $375,000 a year for a 1,500-square-foot space.

"We would like it to be fair market because we do a lot of business in Vancouver, so we know what a fair market rent is," said Bokitch.

The Starbucks on the northeast corner will remain. (CBC)

Another sticking point was the notice provision. The owners wanted to be able to evict Starbucks with one-month's notice if it decided to demolish the building and redevelop the site.

On May 28, the 1,000 customers that get their daily fix at the location will have to find it at one of the 200 other Starbucks locations in Vancouver.

And there is one right across the street.


With files from the CBC's Kirk Williams