Slam Dunkin? Donut shop on Havana could hinge on sidewalks and parking

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AURORA | The corner of East Iliff Avenue and South Havana Street that once housed the now-shuttered Johnny’s Diner could see a Dunkin’ Donuts in its future. Buzz Calkins, who also owns a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise on South Broadway in Denver, has proposed reusing the existing building with a drive-thru service that will be open 24 hours a day.

The project application calls for no major changes to the building save for improvements to the façade that would rebrand it as a Dunkin’ Donuts. That’s an issue for some residents who told planning officials they want to see a sidewalk added to the north side of the property that looks onto the busy Iliff intersection.

Right now, the street parking extends to the edge of Iliff Avenue, where almost 80,000 cars pass by every day.

“It’s not safe,” said Councilwoman Molly Markert, whose ward includes potential Dunkin Donuts location. “If we’re going to upgrade the use, I want the exterior to conform the same way other businesses have had to conform to contribute to the good of community on Havana.”

Galloway and Company, the development firm who is also overseeing the potential project with Calkins, responded to city planners in its application that creating a sidewalk on the north side of the property would take away the number of parkings spaces the city requires for the eatery, which would seat 27 people. According to the application, the city requires 10 parking spaces with at least 2 handicap accessible spaces for the property. Currently, the site plans for 34 parking spaces, with two being handicap accessible.

Calkins responded by email that he is still going through the permitting process with the city, but that he would be thrilled to have the location at Dunkin’ Donuts if the company can make it work. He did not respond by press time to inquiries about adding a sidewalk.

Jim Sayre a manager with the city’s planning department, said the changes being made to the building do not require constructing a sidewalk.

“If we did require a sidewalk that was built to our regulations, it would interfere with the parking and circulation around the building, given the small size of the lot,” he wrote in an email.

It can also add thouands of dollars to the costs, said Aurora City Councilman Bob LeGare, who works as a commercial property manager.

“It’s a minimum of $5,000 and maybe $10,000 or more to put a sidewalk in,” he said. “That’s real dollars, whether it’s for a a mom and pop shop or a Dunkin Donuts.”

LeGare added that a national chain opening on a property that has deteroriated from remaining vacant for over a year would be a boon for the shopping center.