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Starbucks loses Southie brew-haha

A proposal to bring a Starbucks to the corner of L Street and East Broadway was unanimously rejected by Boston’s licensing board.
A proposal to bring a Starbucks to the corner of L Street and East Broadway was unanimously rejected by Boston’s licensing board. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Boston’s licensing board unanimously rejected an application for a proposed Starbucks location in South Boston at a hearing Thursday morning, Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office has confirmed.

The three-member board rejected what is known as a “common victualler’s license,” sought by developer Michael Norton, who wanted to bring the Seattle-based coffee chain to the corner of L Street and East Broadway.

The proposal drew bitter opposition from several South Boston independent business owners and residents, who argued that opening a Starbucks at 749 East Broadway could spell the beginning of the end for the independent shops that line both sides of the street and are integral to Southie’s identity.

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Walsh’s office said on Tuesday that it opposed the Starbucks due to inadequate support in the neighborhood.

Norton has already won zoning approval for a restaurant in that space. He bought the corner lot in 2011, tore down an older building there, and replaced it with a three-story structure, with two rental apartments upstairs and the restaurant space at street level.

Going forward, the developer may ask the board to reconsider its decision. If he is denied, Norton may appeal the decision in Superior Court, according to Walsh’s office.

Starbucks issued a statement saying it respects the board’s decision. A Starbucks spokeswoman said it is too soon to say whether the company would seek a reconsideration from the board.

“We respect the decision and look forward to having an open dialogue with community members and city officials to address any concerns as well as offer a better understanding [of] the experience we can provide,” the company said in the statement.


Katheleen Conti can be reached at kconti@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.