Published June 17. 2014 4:00AM
Stonington - A Pawcatuck development firm is seeking a special use permit from the town to turn the vacant Tim Hortons shop on Route 1 just east of the high school into a cafe.
In a letter to the Planning and Zoning Commission, Dima Rajab, a member of Levant LLC, said his firm is asking that the building at 148 S. Broad St., be allowed to be used as it restaurant, as it once was, instead of for retail, which it was changed to in an unsuccessful effort to lease the space.
He wrote that it would be very difficult to find a tenant to manage a successful retail business in the building.
Plans call for a 26-seat cafe with no drive-through window, which Rajab wrote will "minimize traffic impact and help with community engagement."
The cafe would offer hot and cold beverages and "grab-and-go-style food options." No liquor would be served.
It would be open weekdays from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The application states the nearby high school, police department, residents and businesses, would benefit from having a local cafe. It added the visual appeal of the building and grounds would signal an improvement to that section of South Broad Street.
The application states Tim Hortons ran a doughnut shop in the building from 2004 when it bought Bess Eaton to 2010. It has been vacant for the past four years except for brief 10-day period when a spa store was in operation. The Planning and Zoning Commission will now schedule a public hearing on the request.