The Mag Mile will have a different look in two years when Starbucks opens a four-story roastery and coffee shop inside a 43,000-square-foot space that currently houses retailer Crate & Barrel. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told the Tribune that the new shop will have a theatrical element, as it’ll offer interactive tours of the grounds at the high-profile corner of Michigan and Erie.
The new location at 646 N. Michigan Ave. will apparently be the largest Starbucks in the U.S. It will also serve pizza baked on premises. It’s an extension of its collaboration with the Princi, the Italian bakery chain. The coffee company also confirmed that a Princi/Starbucks collaboration is coming to the West Loop at 1000 W. Randolph St. That location, like the massive new Michigan Avenue one, will serve specialty small-batch coffees. Both will be designated as Starbucks Reserves, the new brand that’s designed to compete with artisan roasters and attract younger customers. Starbucks wants to open around 1,000 of them, and so far has opened 20 across the country including locations in Wicker Park, Wrigleyville, and the Gold Coast.
Schultz sounded like these new roastery shops would give him the chance to live out his dreams out as Willy Wonka, showcasing Starbucks in a new way. The Michigan Avenue roastery will join a Seattle roastery that opened in 2014 and one that should open in New York in 2018. Starbucks also plans on opening roasteries in Shanghai later this year and in Milan and Tokyo in 2018.
Crate & Barrel had been in the location for 27 years, and will likely close after the holiday shopping season ends. Starbucks’ news release includes quotes from Crate & Barrel founder Gordon Segal saying how the building can be a “beacon for a brand.” Schultz admitted to the Trib that the company will sink “tens of millions” of dollars into the shop. Starbucks sees the value of that location, too.
The Tribune broke Starbucks’ plans for the new shop earlier this month.