Starbucks Reserve Riverside 66 Tianjin opens in heritage building
Starbucks opened a flagship Reserve store in Tianjin, China, today which was built inside a Renaissance-era heritage building dating back to 1921.
The Starbucks Reserve Riverside 66 Tianjin flagship store combines history with an entirely modern ‘third-place experience’ for the brand’s customers.
“Over the past 20 years in China, Starbucks has constantly pushed to innovate and reimagine the third-place experience, to bring people and communities closer together,” said Leo Tsoi, senior VP, COO and president at Starbucks China – retail. “We are immensely proud and privileged to preserve a revered piece of history that binds together four generations of Tianjin residents, and to share this rich cultural inheritance with more people, passing it on to future generations.”
The new store marks the first in the city to feature a Starbucks Bar Mixato and Starbucks Teavana tea bar, in addition to its Starbucks Reserve offer.
The building, located on the city’s main commercial street, was designed by Shen Liyuan, who was among the first Chinese architects to study overseas. It housed the Zhejiang Xinye Bank until the early 1950s, a symbol of the city’s economic prosperity and development.
In the 1980s, the early days of China’s economic transformation, it reopened as the high-end Yongzheng Tailor Shop before being converted into the Xinye Foreign Trade Mall. The location was officially designated as a city heritage site in 1997 and has been vacant for the past 20 years.
Working with local historic preservation experts, it took Starbucks three years to navigate technical complexities and realise the vision for a modern restaurant space in a preserved building.
Features of the building, such as the majestic Greek-style exterior facade, glass dome, imported marble columns and marble carvings, have all been preserved, along with the original bank counters. The architects specified bronze tubes to avoid using nails in the columns when lighting was installed. Lighting and air conditioning systems were embedded into the glass dome.
“Beyond preserving the century old architecture in its fullest form, the Starbucks flagship store has also made creative use of its unique features,” said Luo Shuwei, historian and senior researcher from the Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences. “Starbucks partners have shown great passion and dedication to ensure that every design detail is in harmony with the original architectural style, to create a warm and welcoming ambience that is also filled with history.”