IN THE wake of denials that the café at the new £4.8 million CLR James Library in Dalston will be a Starbucks, the letting agent has claimed that it will be a Starbucks after all.
Complaints by Hackney websites that the multinational coffee pioneer would open a café at the potentially lucrative site were refuted by the local businessman who sealed the deal last year. The websites have since quietly corrected their reports.
Hackney council confirmed this, saying: “The branding will not be as prominent as with a direct letting.”
Estate agent Richard Susskind, however, believes otherwise. It brags on its website: “We are delighted to announce that Richard Susskind… have leased the Dalston Library Café to the globally acclaimed Starbucks.
“The coffee shop is in the multi-million pound C.R.L. [sic] James Library located on the corner of Dalston Lane next to the new Dalston Junction station. This part [sic] of the huge regeneration project that will offer…
“Now the world’s largest coffee retailers are set to join the area…
“Now a welcome addition to Dalston, they will give a much needed caffeine boost to the library… blah-blah…” [You’ll be spared the full horror of the consultancy’s assault on the English language: Loving Dalston, the site that reads Corporate-speak to save your suffering.]
Bozdere responded: “I am sticking to my initial comment. As you are aware, the café will be serving Starbucks coffee and we will have internal signage at the café supplied by Starbucks.
“Other than that, the café will be a separate entity from the coffee company: I am free to name the café as I wish, although I have not thought of a name yet.”
The café (at the right of the building, above) has also been hit by delays. As well as the café, Hackney archives is unable to move into the building for several weeks. Bozdere says that he and Hackney council “signed off” later than he had expected, which was why he was still installing catering equipment and decorating the premises when Loving Dalston visited today.
He is nevertheless confident that he will open for business before next month, March 2012. He said: “I have been permitted to carry out the construction work during library hours as the council didn’t want me to disturb residents [of the Barratt flats above the library].
“I am happy with the support from Hackney council and library officials.”
Bozdere’s company, Akis, has taken a 15-year lease of the premises from Hackney council at £30,000 a year. Other local entrepreneurs have indicated annoyance at not having heard that the council premises was offering the café premises to lease.
Ian Burgess, of Climpson and Sons, said he could not quite believe that the café had gone to a Starbucks franchisee. He told Loving Dalston: “There are so many small independent and quality coffee operators around these parts.
“The only reason I can think of is that Hackney wants some kind of guarantee on its rent being paid.
“If the council were to change its mind, I’m sure it would see the benefits… in the quality of product and the happiness of visitors to the café.”
Steve Hawkes, co-owner of Tina, We Salute You, a local-café trendsetter, said: “It would have been good to have the opportunity to consider making a bid, although I’m not against Sömine’s owners getting the deal; they are local.
“Dalston is an area with lots of young, well-educated people who like edginess. Yet all these big new developments invariably seem to end up with the involvement of something vaguely corporate.”
* Hackney council today announced a gala week of events from Mon 27 Feb 2012 to Sat 3 Mar 2012 to celebrate the library’s opening. Details: CLR James Library, Dalston Lane, Hackney E8 3BQ.
* The agent has amended its website; see comment below.