In an unusual reversal of fortunes, Starbucks on Victoria Street is closing down today after 12 years. The official line is that the company’s lease on the ground floor of the Bristol Foyer building next to Bristol Bridge is running out, with all staff being found new jobs within other stores in the city.
I understand, however, that a major reason why the lease has not been renewed is due to serious problems with tenants living above the cafe.
Permission from the council is in place for tables and chairs outside overlooking the Floating Harbour and Castle Park; what has the potential to become a desirable al fresco area, and soon to have a major increase in footfall once the Finzel’s Reach development is completed.
But when the outside seating area was trialled, it is alleged that objects were thrown from above. Over the years, windows have also been smashed. The cafe even hired security guards.
The situation was evidently more trouble than it was worth for the global coffee giant to remain in this corner of Bristol. So they are packing up their overpriced beans and departing, much to the chagrin of this regular.
Sonia Furzland, Assistant Director at Knightstone Housing, said: “Knightstone are in discussion with Starbucks Coffee Co. UK about their lease at Bristol Bridge. We understand that they are reviewing commercial arrangements and performance and making similar decisions at other sites in Bristol. Knightstone has enjoyed a happy 12-year relationship as Starbucks’ landlord and is not aware of any current issues.”
I tried contacting Starbucks for a comment but their UK press office failed to respond.