An ACU graduate wants to turn a house on Campus Court into a coffee shop.
Abilene businessman Caleb Ensor, who owns the house at 2126 Campus Court, said a coffee house at that location could help stimulate further retail near campus and provide a meeting place once the on-campus stadiums are complete for soccer, track and football.
“The thought that Campus Court could be so much more attractive and better served as a retail district started the idea,” Ensor said. “This would bring new businesses and fresh ideas to the area. It would also provide jobs for the students within walking distance and entertainment for all that live on and visit campus.”
Some neighbors have opposed the idea, arguing it will produce more traffic. A few students who live in the surrounding area, however, like the idea and say there is already traffic on the street.
Regardless, the plan still faces a few hurdles. The house is now zoned “residential” by the city of Abilene and would have to be rezoned to allow commercial use. That proposal by Ensor is still being considered at city hall.
“It is not inevitable,” said Jon James, director of planning and development services for the city of Abilene. “Planning and zoning denied the request, and now it goes to the city council for its final decision.”
The plan will likely increase business across various platforms throughout the area, Ensor said.
“The idea has come from many conversations regarding the lack of restaurants, shops and hang-out spots around campus,” Ensor said. “A coffee house would provide a different off-campus atmosphere where students could hang out inside or outside on the patio overlooking the new stadium.”
However, the idea was denied for various reasons by the city’s planning and zoning commission. Increased traffic is one of the chief worries, James said.
The plan will be taken to the city council on Nov. 6 for a public hearing.
“Anyone interested can speak at that meeting,” James said. “It is not specifically authorized to be a coffee shop, but simply whether to authorize retail. The approval of retail zoning could allow a coffee shop, restaurant or retail shop.”
The process is similar to a recent situation that occurred near Campus Court.
Previously, residents of northeastern Abilene expressed opposition to the rezoning of a property in the neighborhood north of Ambler because of concerns related to traffic and I-20 access. The property owners intended to build an assisted living facility. The area had been zoned residential, but Abilene City Council voted to approve the rezoning of that property.