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Coffee lovers will find a convenient fix at the former Hilltop site

The former Hilltop Steak House site. (Owen O'Rourke)

SAUGUS — Plans for a well-known coffee shop, complete with a drive-thru window, are brewing at the $100 million Hilltop Steak House site redevelopment.

Attorney Richard Magnan, who represented developer AvalonBay Communities, said he could not disclose which cafe would be going into the space because of a confidentiality agreement, but said it was a “nationally known coffee shop that already exists in Saugus.”

The developers got the OK from Saugus selectmen for a special permit to bring a drive-thru to their planned retail and residential site on Route 1 last week.

Even during preliminary planning stages, developers sought to create an active space that would have complimentary uses for the surrounding area, including a coffee shop with a drive-thru, according to Michael Roberts, Avalon’s senior vice president of development.

“Our vision has always been to have restaurant uses with potential indoor and outdoor space,” Roberts said.

The drive-thru will have enough space for nine cars, and parking spaces will be available on the site.

Plans for the site former Hilltop Steak House site include turning the existing 13.9 acres into a mixed-use development with residential and retail space. A 24,000-square-foot, one-story building will house multiple shops along Route 1, and three four-story residential buildings will be built toward the the rear of the lot.

The 280 planned rental units will include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. There will also be a one-story clubhouse with an outdoor swimming pool.

Each unit will have a bay window and most will have a balcony. The lobby of each apartment building will be open and face a common area to promote use of the retail space.

Town Manager Scott Crabtree agreed that the availability of a drive-thru would help market the space to potential businesses.

Magnan added that there were no objections from the Fire Department, Building Department, or Police Department.

The project is expected to be completed in two years.

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