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Maximum Strength Design

Noticed something a little funky happening in our neck of the woods lately: old buildings, many of which have been sitting vacant for quite some time, are getting a shot of new energy – but not by someone you might expect.

Starbucks, it seems, has an interest in preserving old buildings. They’ve done a fine job with a structure at 7th Street and Osborn, adoring the design with landscape architecture that includes flashy white rocks, designy little cacti, and eye-catchy brick designs. At night, the lighting is sexytime, really jazzing up the corner. Over on Indian School at about 28th Street, an old bank got the Starbucks coffeehouse treatment now with a fantastic patio, exposed wood beams inside, and a low-slung modernist furniture that pays homage to the building itself. The interior’s more Met Home than Dwell, but it’s a fine space with clerestory windows, iron and glass appointments, and a subway tile backspash.

Over at 7th Avenue and Camelback, the story is less about modern design but more about breaking a curse. That roundish-fronted building that’s held many-a-restaurant over the years is now ready for an eternity of coffee slingin’. We haven’t been inside this one, as the building just opened last week, but we’re happy to see some love given to that struggling strip center.

On our Instagram feed, some people wished for a local restaurant in these spaces rather than a big national chain. But we also hear that this is happening across the country. Starbucksitecture, Modernbucks, whatever it’s called, we’re just happy to see free WiFi with a modern twist. This is happening around the world (heck, did you know there are locations around Chicago serving beer, wine, and small plates, now?), so maybe this is the perfect way for people swallow their disdain for big business and global coffee powerhouses.