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Starbucks wins Southie fight

Boston’s licensing board on Thursday unanimously voted to approve a license for a proposed Starbucks at 749 East Broadway (at right) in South Boston.
Boston’s licensing board on Thursday unanimously voted to approve a license for a proposed Starbucks at 749 East Broadway (at right) in South Boston.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/File/Globe Staff

Starbucks fans in Southie, take heart: Your favorite coffee chain will be able to set up shop on East Broadway after all.

Boston’s licensing board voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a license for a proposed Starbucks at 749 East Broadway in South Boston. The decision comes more than three months after the board had voted to deny a previous license request for the same Starbucks shop.

Representatives for the Seattle-based coffee shop giant made some efforts to ingratiate themselves with the community since that time, and a neighborhood meeting to discuss the issue last week was much less antagonistic than one held in the spring. Supporters and critics then packed a hearing room at City Hall last week to make their case, and the licensing board opted not to make a decision the following day, as the board members would normally do.

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The issue became a flashpoint for the fast-changing neighborhood. Opponents, including some competing merchants, complained that a Starbucks would drive up rents around it and harm independent businesses on and near East Broadway. Supporters, meanwhile, said Starbucks would add vitality to the street and provide a key amenity to families and young professionals who live nearby.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh had opposed the project throughout the process, citing concerns raised by neighbors such as increases in traffic and deliveries that the Starbucks would bring. The licensing board consists of members appointed by Walsh.

On Thursday, a spokeswoman said: “The Mayor respects the Licensing Board’s decision and looks forward to Starbucks addressing the neighborhood’s concerns.”


Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.