The purpose of this paper is to test the popular perception that the storefront location choices of premium brands are positively related to adjacent rents. Focusing on the case of Starbucks, a popular international coffee chain, the authors examine the association between Starbucks locations and rents in Manhattan, New York.
The authors use a multi-year data set for average rent per square foot for office and multifamily residential properties within 1/10th of a mile of several hundred coffee shop locations in Manhattan, controlling for vacancy, job density, overall amenity density (WalkScore), coffee shop density, transit accessibility, neighborhood and the Starbucks brand. The authors take two different methodological approaches to isolate potential statistical evidence for an association between Starbucks locations and adjacent rents: the authors run a pooled-cross-sectional model and apply propensity-score matching.
The authors find a statistically significant positive relationship between the presence of Starbucks and average office rents when applying the authors’ pooled-cross-sectional model and applying propensity-score matching. This finding is consistent with several potential causal hypotheses: Starbucks may be attributed to higher rent office locations; the “Starbucks effect” may cause higher rents in adjacent locations; or there may be a mutual reinforcing of positive feedback between Starbucks locations and office rents. The authors find no strong association between Starbucks and residential rents (one model indicates an effect of 2.3 percent on residential rent at 10 percent level of significance), which challenges the direct linearity of the consumption theory of gentrification popularly called the “Starbucks effect.”
In the literature, the existence, causality and directionality of a relationship between Starbucks locations and neighborhood change have been largely unstudied. In this paper, the authors test the hypothesis that there is a positive correlation between Starbucks locations and rents.
Donner, H. and Loh, T.H. (2019), "Does the Starbucks effect exist? Searching for a relationship between Starbucks and adjacent rents", Property Management, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 562-578. https://doi.org/10.1108/PM-01-2019-0004
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