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A prefabricated 7 Brew Coffee building was placed on the corner of Sunshine Street and Jefferson Avenue on March 6.
Karen Craigo | SBJ
A prefabricated 7 Brew Coffee building was placed on the corner of Sunshine Street and Jefferson Avenue on March 6.

7 Brew building arrives at contested corner

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A late April opening is planned for the 7 Brew Coffee location that popped up quickly last week at the intersection of Sunshine Street and Jefferson Avenue.

“‘Dropping the building’ is the language they use, and they dropped it in place on Wednesday,” said Brandon Sebald, co-owner of Fayetteville, Arkansas-based Brew Crew LLC franchisee.

This is Brew Crew’s sixth 7 Brew store in Springfield, after opening store No. 5 at 354 W. Buena Vista St. in September, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

The franchisee, co-owned by Brandon and brother Chris Sebald and friend Larry Wilson, relies on a Springfield company, Creative Modular Construction LLC, to move in the prefabricated 510-square-foot buildings. Sebald said for the latest Springfield store, the company just had to drive the building 10 minutes down the road from its West Chestnut Expressway location.

“They’re one of the preferred vendors of 7 Brew, and we’ve been a happy customer of theirs for a little over two years now,” Sebald said.

A year ago, Sebald told franchising news publication Franchise Times that the company Brew Crew had plans to develop 212 locations of the drive-thru coffee concept and expected 26 total in 2023.

One of those was the just-dropped store, approved for the corner by a 5-3 vote of Springfield City Council on Jan. 10, 2023. That vote OK’d a conditional use permit for the three-lane drive-thru, following a rezoning to a limited business district from single-family residential in summer 2022. Council approval was against the recommendation of the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission, which voted against the development three times, according to past SBJ reporting.

At the time, then-member of council Mike Schilling expressed his concern at what he called the “Glenstonification” of the Sunshine corridor – a reference to heavily developed Glenstone Avenue, which the city’s comprehensive plan has identified as an area in need of aesthetic improvement.

Some residents of the Seminole/Holland neighborhood, including its neighborhood association, objected to the intrusion of the commercial development into the residential setting. Egress from the drive-thru will occur via Roanoke Avenue, a residential street.

Concerns were also expressed to council about traffic disruptions with the development being planned across the street from Sunshine Elementary. In contrast, former Councilmember Richard Ollis advocated making the entirety of Sunshine Street commercial.

Sebald said the franchise uses a local civil engineering firm, Toth and Associates Inc. as well as a local architect, Kinetic Design and Development LLC, adding he stayed on top of the controversy and understood it.

“When you’re rezoning something near a school, you’re going to have a heightened number of eyeballs on it,” he said. “I would be concerned, too.”

But he said the location will operate on restricted hours and keep music volume at a minimum out of consideration for neighbors.

“We knew we were going to do the right thing at the end of the day,” he said. “We want to be a value-add to the neighborhood. We can’t wait to get it open.”

When asked if he was surprised at how long it took to get through the building process, Sebald said every community Brew Crew works with is a little bit different.

“We were surprised and not surprised at the same time,” he said. “We’re happy to go through the process, and we’re excited we’re only a month away from opening up.”

A 7 Brew location typically has a staff of 45-50 employees, according to past SBJ reporting.

In an interview that took place on the site in December 2023, Royce Reding, who owns the site and led the development effort through his company Reding Management LLC and Redec LLC, said part of the delay was because of a city requirement to put power lines underground and some challenges posed by topography. Stormwater management was another issue, he said.

He pointed to the location of the 7 Brew in the portion of the lot closest to Jefferson and an empty commercial lot beside it. That section will likely go toward a bank or a small office, he said.

“What I’ve experienced here and what the other individuals that have been involved in the project, from the broker side to the construction side – everyone would agree that what’s happened here has been abnormal as far as the time,” he said.

He said despite the requirements and challenges mentioned, he did not know why there was such a long delay.

“I do know that you’ve got a planning department that’s probably understaffed, and so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt there,” he said. “I know that they struggled to meet their self-imposed deadlines throughout the process.”

Reding said city staff has been good to work with, despite what he called a logjam.

“This project’s taken about two years to get going,” he said. “From a city perspective and a community perspective, that’s two years of lost revenue on the tax side. The property taxes here will go up immensely, so the schools have lost out for two years.”

He added that he spent $5,000-$7,000 to remove debris that was dumped on the site while it sat waiting for construction to begin. Most of that was smaller loads of construction debris deposited there at night.

“That’s a continual problem that we face at all of our projects,” he said. “The city’s response on that is, well, that’s why we don’t like sites looking like construction sites – to which my response is, well, then let’s get this thing moving.”

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