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Dunkin, Baskin-Robbins eye closed Meridian Street cafe

June 5, 2010

Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins have agreed to take over the former home of Bonjour Cafe & Bakery at Meridian and 24th streets if the owner wins city approval to add a drive-through.

Owner Travis May of Greenfield-based HSM Development Inc. has asked for the zoning variance for the 1,969-square-foot building at 2402 N. Meridian St., in front of the Library Services Center.

New drive-throughs are not allowed for businesses along Meridian Street, in part to encourage the development of a more urban and pedestrian-friendly corridor. The proposed drive-through would not even meet the code if it were allowed in the area; the property has room for only five stacking spaces for cars, less than the required eight. That’s why the city’s planning staff so far is recommending the request be denied.

But David Kingen, an urban planner who represents the building owner, says the drive-through will be along the building’s western façade, hidden from view of Meridian, and the new tenant will bring life to one of several vacant buildings in the area.

The Dunkin/Baskin concepts also should attract a moderate level of traffic throughout the day, rather than in one rush, he said.

“The notion of no drive-throughs is admirable until you look at all the existing drive-throughs that aren’t going away,” said Kingen, who is courting support from neighborhood associations. He said the deal is a no-go without the drive-through.

A hearing is scheduled for July 6.

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