Experimental Starbucks – Is This the Future?

Your New Starbucks Might be Delivered on a Semi

Wait…Why is this guy writing about something other than Real Estate?

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No, really. Starbucks has opened an experimental new Starbucks in Colorado that is small (very), portable and hyper-local. Delivered on a semi-bed and unlike almost any other Starbucks you have been to, this store has no comfy leather chairs, no tables or bars to work on your laptop and no free power outlets. It’s the coffee-shop version of the “modern modular” – a 500 sq.ft. Starbucks store with a walk-up shop, a LEED-certified drive, minus the cozy lobby. I’ve hit the highlights, but CLICK HERE for a awesome, comprehensive article on the design and implementation of this new concept.

My question for YOU – What is Starbucks to you? All about the drink or more about the community and environment of the coffee shop? Take the POLL!

Is community the business-driver or is the espresso drink? Does Starbucks only need hot, tasty drinks and hip white cups with the green Starbucks logo all the soccer-moms carry as their most inexpensive status symbol to remain profitable and relevant? I suppose its little of both – the branded drink and the community feel appeal to two different customer bases and while this experimental Starbucks will only really work for the former, the latter will likely drive a few more miles for the comfy leather chair and the free power-outlet. Time will tell, but I applaud Starbucks for thinking outside the box (the 2,000 sq.ft. store box, that is) and trying something progressive and efficient.

Kyle Pfaffe, REALTOR® e: KylePfaffe@kw.com m: 512-636-9707 w: AustinHomes4You.com

IKEA Partners With IdeaBox to Create PreFab Home!

IKEA has reportedly teamed up with Ideabox, the Oregon based home designer, to create a pre-fabricated home packed with Ikea’s Swedish-style furniture, appliance and flooring.*

IdeaBox’s “Aktiv” model is a 1 bed, 1 bath 745 sqft. “euro designer flat” outfitted top to bottom with IKEA furniture and materials and typically priced at $86,500. According to IdeaBox, “it’s a house designed to live in… with all the fun. function, and practicality found in every ideabox!”
(Credit: IdeaBox)

Fortunately, it does not arrive as a truckload of long, flat-pack cardboard boxes that anyone who has purchased furniture at IKEA before is familiar with. Instead it will be delivered in just a couple of large pieces by semi.

As someone who has dealt numerous times with the frustrations of assembling a piece of IKEA furniture, this statement by Amanda Kooser, of CNET, had me laughing uncontrollably. She said that this home is a “sweet proposition for anyone who’s ever dreamed about moving into an IKEA store–or a nightmare for anyone who’s spent hours trying to assemble an IKEA dresser only to have it come out looking like a bookcase.”

Would this work in Austin? I think many people in Austin would identify with IdeaBox’s eco-friendly approach used with their customer base in Oregon. The compact home incorporates no hallways and numerous green materials and features such as VOC-free paint, low-flow pluming, a tankless water heater, fiber cement siding, and Energy Star appliances.

That being said, good luck, finding affordable places to build these homes without finding a way to convert them to multi-level condos. I foresee Austin to continue to go Green with tear-downs and new construction, but do not think that these kind of pre-fab homes will be the route to take us there.

Questions about green housing? Let me know and I would be happy to help!

*IKEA released a statement today that said “IKEA has not launched and is not selling prefabricated homes in the United States.” This is rather a collaboration between IdeaBox and IKEA Portland to furnish these homes with IKEA products.

Kyle Pfaffe, REALTOR®
Keller Williams Realty
m: 512-636-9707
e: KylePfaffe@KW.com
w: AustinHomes4You.com