Sept. 03--HAMMOND -- Northwest Indiana's biggest city is about to get a major jolt of caffeine.
Starbucks is going to open its first Hammond location just south of Interstate 80/94 at Indianapolis Boulevard and Interstate Plaza Drive, across the street from the Cabela's and the new super Walmart. A hybrid Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robbins will replace a run-down gas station at 7410 Kennedy Ave. in Hessville.
"This means the mayor won't have to go to Calumet City for his Starbucks," Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott said. "Starbucks knows where to locate its stores. It doesn't locate where there's not discretionary money and it doesn't locate where it won't succeed."
More than 43,000 vehicles per day pass by that stretch of Indianapolis Boulevard, and traffic has picked up more since a new 185,000-square-foot super Walmart opened next to Cabela's. The big-box store's parking lot is often filled to capacity, McDermott said.
Starbucks, which is also planning a new location on Calumet Avenue in Munster, will replace a Burger King on Indianapolis Boulevard that was torn down in 2004. It's not far from the Purdue Calumet University campus and should be popular with students, McDermott said.
The presence of Starbucks, a Seattle-based chain with more than 22,500 coffeehouses nationwide, has been long overdue in Hammond, he said.
"There's no doubt Starbucks is a a status symbol," he said. "A city of 81,000 people -- the biggest city in Northwest Indiana -- was shut out from having a Starbucks for a long time. But I bet you this one is going to be so successful, there will be one or two more in a year. Walmart was initially nervous about moving onto 165th Street because they didn't think Hammond could support a Walmart but now the city has two of the busiest super Walmarts in the country by square footage. They're going to be widely successful at this location."
Developer CBRE plans to start building a 5,000-square-foot building for Starbucks sometime in the first quarter of next year, but an exact timetable is not set, CBRE Retail Services Associate Sean McCourt said. The building will have a drive-through and room for one or two more tenants, though none has been lined up.
Construction would ideally be completed in the second quarter, but that's not definite, McCourt said.
Hammond's fourth Dunkin' Donuts also should be built at a former Clark gas station on Kennedy Avenue sometime next year, McDermott said.
"It's a good spot by the McDonald's, and we're starting to see some reinvestment in that area," he said.
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