Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is siding with North End residents and businesses, telling Starbucks they should withdraw plans to open in the historic neighborhood.
The brouhaha has been percolating for months. Residents and business owners teamed up against the plan to open a Starbucks on the corner of historic Hanover Street.
"After hearing the concerns from residents about sustaining the culture and historic nature of the North End, I encouraged the applicant to withdraw the proposal to locate a Starbucks at the entrance to the North End," Walsh said. "Our community process works best when we communicate effectively and work together."
North End business owners believe Walsh's announcement moved their fight against the proposal in the right direction.
"Him asking them not to come, I think it's a done deal," said Damien DiPaola, the owner of Carmelina's. "I'm confident enough to say they are not coming to the gateway of our neighborhood.
"We don't want tourists and everyone else going to our gateway and saying, 'Why is there a Starbucks in Little Italy, in the North End, doesn't make any sense,'" said Mivan Spencer, the owner of Caffe dello Sport.
The fear is that Starbucks would ruin the character of the neighborhood, where many mom and pop restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops have been grinding it out for decades.
"It's so special, it has a different vibe to it," said North End resident Azadeh Suppappoli. "You don't want to see any corporate, you like to see the small businesses here."
A spokesperson for Connecticut-based Charter Realty, the company hoping to open the Starbucks, said the location would keep within the character of the neighborhood and include an Italian heritage monument.
Representatives for the company have not responded as to what their intentions are after Walsh's announcement. But there is a neighborhood meeting scheduled Monday night, and the developer could have some information then.