Annapolis Panel Gives Starbucks Green Light

By Shearon Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Annapolis Historic Preservation Commission gave Starbucks the go-ahead last night to convert part of a historic building into its sixth store in the Annapolis area.

The proposal to build a Starbucks in the basement of the Maryland Inn, approved unanimously by the commission, had sparked concern among Annapolitans who said the building's historical integrity could be compromised.

Members of the commission, however, focused on the coffeehouse's stated commitment to historical district guidelines. The company also pledged to report regularly on construction plans.

The building dates back more than 200 years, when it was known as the King of France Tavern and hosted foreign dignitaries and spawned a legend of a secret passageway from its wine cellar to the State House.

The Historic Annapolis Foundation, which also recommended approval last night, has said that Starbucks would offer a modern-day gathering spot and spur renewed interest in the historic site.

In other action, the preservation commission approved plans to upgrade two of three sites damaged last year in a fire on Main Street.

The approval came with restrictions limiting the architects from replacing some windows and a front facade.

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