A drive-through-only Starbucks coffee shop is likely coming soon to Tuscaloosa just off the campus of the University of Alabama, the Thread learned Friday.

Approval for the new project came from the University of Alabama System's Board of Trustees, who met in Huntsville Thursday and Friday.

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In a Thursday meeting, the Board's Physical Properties Committee recommended the full board OK the preliminary scope and budget for "University Boulevard Drive-through Retail at UA" in Tuscaloosa.

The project, according to UA Vice President for the Division of Finance and Operations Matt Fajack, is a 1,000 square-foot drive-through-only coffee shop that will almost certainly become a Starbucks operated by UA's Bama Dining program.

"I think the economics lean towards Bama DIning operating this facility, but if the economics change, we could lease it to a coffee shop also," Fajack said. "If Bama Dining operates it, it will be a Starbucks."

The committee's discussion, timestamped at the beginning of the agenda item in questions, is embedded below.

The facility will be built on University Boulevard between Newks Eatery and the in-progress Alabama Credit Union building under construction now.

The proposed coffee shop will be in a small space with no parking and no interior service, but will likely serve to alleviate long lines at the city's other Starbucks locations, including the ever-busy on-campus locations on Paul Bryant Drive next to the Supe Store and inside the University of Alabama Student Center.

The budget for the project is $2.5 million, with roughly half of that dedicated to the cost of building the new facility.

After the committee recommended approval of Phase I of the project Thursday, the full Board of Trustees OK'd the measure at their full meeting Friday morning.

UA's Construction Administration office has now issued a request for architectural and engineering services seeking a firm to design and build the new coffee shop. The project description included in the request is below.

This project will be a 1,000 square foot Starbucks coffee facility, with drive-thru service only. The building will be a one-story, traditional appearance Starbucks drive-thru only concept, designed to serve customers through the drive-thru window and with an alternative pick-up option for customers who choose to order via Starbucks mobile ordering app, from a window or locker system. There is no interior café in this type of Starbucks drive-thru only store.

Firms have until April 13th to put their name in the hat, and the Board could approve a contract with a firm at their June meeting.

As this project is still in its earliest stages, no timeline for the completion of the construction or the opening of the coffee shop was available Friday afternoon.

Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more on this project as it advances and for exclusive coverage of restaurant and retail development efforts across West Alabama.

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