Tim Hortons to replace 'lab' coffee shop space in downtown Ann Arbor
Ryan Stanton | AnnArbor.com
The news — first reported by The Ann magazine and confirmed by AnnArbor.com — comes as Tim Hortons is also planning to open two other new stores in Ann Arbor.
Brynn Burton, manager of U.S. public relations for Tim Hortons, declined to comment on plans for the downtown store but acknowledged the building permits.
The news comes a few months after Michigan-based restaurant chain Grand Traverse Pie Co. leased the former @burger restaurant space a few steps to the west on East Liberty Street in the McKinley Towne Centre. The Grand Traverse Pie franchise owner recently started renovations on the space and is hiring managers.
The future of lab — the business name is spelled in lower case — was not immediately clear. One of the shop's owners, Joanna Hong, declined to comment this morning.
Thomas Gritter, an executive with Ann Arbor-based real estate firm McKinley Inc., which owns the McKinley Towne Centre, also declined to comment.
Lab, which appeals especially to young professionals and college students, opened in March 2010, offering coffee, espresso drinks, yogurt and baked goods.
Tim Hortons announced in 2011 that it would build a new store at the former Enzo's bar just off the northeast corner of South State and Ellsworth on the southern edge of the city. It also announced that it would build a new store at the site of the former Golden Chef restaurant in the Maple Village shopping center at Maple and Jackson.
Construction is expected to start soon at those locations with targeted opening dates of September or October. The stores will be franchised.
Mike Meilleur, senior vice president of U.S. operations for Tim Hortons, said in an email that the company views Ann Arbor as a natural place to grow.
"Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop is strategic in how we expand and enter new markets," he said. "We want to make sure we are growing in the markets where we have a presence to be at more points of convenience where our guests live and work."
The company, which has a five-year agreement with IMG College Sports to provide drinks and baked good at University of Michigan sporting events, already has stores in Saline and Ypsilanti Township.