Drive-thru 7 Brew coffee shop planned for vacant Ogden Avenue bank site in Naperville  

Exterior of a 7 Brew coffee shop
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Naperville-area residents and motorists passing through the city might soon have another new option for their daily java jolt, based on a recently submitted proposal.

Arkansas-based 7 Brew, a growing chain with nearly 200 operations across the U.S., has announced plans to open a store at the site of a former Bank Financial branch building at 1200 E. Ogden Ave.

The company plans to raze the vacant bank building on the 0.58-acre parcel, which is located at the southwest corner of Ogden and Iroquois avenues. In its place would be a small building to accommodate the drive-thru-only business.

Speed and efficiency part of the 7 Brew business plan 

Vince Rosanova with Naperville-based law firm Rosanova and Whitaker is representing Who Brew IL I LLC, the applicant behind the local 7 Brew proposal. Rosanova discussed the business plan at a Wednesday, Feb. 21, meeting of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

“By way of background, 7 Brew is a very exciting, new coffee shop,” Rosanova said. “The focus is heavily on the customer experience. Speed, quality, as well as a positive environment, have led to significant success over the last seven years since they first started in Rogers, Arkansas.”

In his pitch to commissioners, Rosanova described 7 Brew’s proposal as “a very efficient and effective site plan,”

Speaking to the current state of the property, Rosanova said, “It’s now vacant, underperforming, and contributes very little to the overall area. Keeping in conformance with the overall positive trend of investment in the area, we hope that 7 Brew goes forward and continues to revitalize this area.”

Compatibility discussed at commissioners’ meeting

Rosanova said he viewed 7 Brew’s plans for the dormant Bank Financial parcel as one piece of a larger puzzle along the East Ogden Avenue corridor, which has sprouted a number of new developments in the past decade.

Rosanova pointed to the revitalized Tower Crossing Shopping Center, Amazon Fresh and Costco as examples of improvements in an area of the city he said “needed our attention.”

“It was marked with vacancies, blighted buildings, eyesores, undesirable uses, and staff really took that charge,” Rosanova said. “Today, we stand here five years later, and instead of this being an area of concern, it’s actually a source of pride for the entire community and all of the stakeholders.”

During public comment, resident Marilyn Schweitzer expressed concern with a lack of pedestrian-friendly features within the parcel.

“Please take the goals of the 2022 land-use plan seriously and ensure pedestrian access is improved, and not diminished,” Schweitzer said. “I want Naperville to be a community that encourages people to stay — not a community to drive in and out of as quickly as possible.”

Rosanova said there was no need for pedestrian features within the parcel because of 7 Brew’s business model.

“This is not an indoor dining type of situation,” Rosanova said. “There is not even a walkup type of window. There’s no benches, there’s no outdoor seating. The only opportunity to get coffee at this location is by vehicle.”

Technical details of proposed Naperville business reviewed

Commissioners reviewed several technical details about the company’s plans at the recent meeting. The applicant is seeking several variances from the city code. One of them, the elimination of a bypass lane, drew scrutiny during the review.

“My concern is that if we have a medical emergency and we have two or three cars ahead of me and a few cars behind me, how would I be able to get out?” commissioner Meghna Bansal inquired.

In response, Rosanova said, “One of the things we have going for us is the speed and the efficiency.”

Bansal cast the sole dissenting vote, with all other members forwarding a favorable recommendation on to the city council.

Commissioner Whitney Robbins attached a caveat to her “yes” vote.

“When we talk about there being easy access and being neighborhood friendly to all of the other neighbors and those young kids in the area, I do feel like this is a little bit of a miss,” Robbins said “But I do approve, and I think it will do well.”

Photo courtesy: 7 Brew

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