The opening of the 7-Eleven last week was the latest step forward in the Liacouras Walk project that has been plodding along slowly since last summer. The three new eateries of Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins and Togo’s Sandwiches are scheduled to open simultaneously between Aug. 15 and 20.
With structural renovations of addresses 1904 and 1906 finally complete, fit out construction for the stores is slated to begin within the next three weeks. The initial fit outs will take anywhere between 60-90 days. After they are completed, it will be a matter days before the stores will be opened to the public.
The renovation work that has been going on all semester was more complicated and expensive than anyone thought. It involved knocking out load bearing walls so that one storefront unit could be combined into three.
“The renovations took an exceedingly long time because of the unique nature of the work,” said Richard Rumer, Temple’s vice president for business affairs. “I am happy to say that the hardest part of the work is now behind us, and the progress will be quite a lot faster from now on.”
In addition, The Chop Shop, a unisex hair salon, will be opening between April 15 and 20 of this semester, located at 1930 Liacouras Walk, next to the Campus Cleaners.
Campus Walk Limited Partnership has been the contractor renovating and outfitting the stores for use. Robert Hoe is one of three partners working on the project.
“We expect the businesses to be running and fully staffed by the time the early arrival students return in August,” he said.
Hoe said that Master Wok, a popular Chinese chain-restaurant, has signed the lease for 1934 Liacouras Walk, on the other side of the Campus Cleaners.
“The people at Master Wok are very enthusiastic and excited about bringing their business to Temple,” Hoe said. “They have around 40 or 50 locations in the area.”
The restaurant can be seen in food courts and airport malls all over the region. Master Wok should be opening around the same time as the Dunkin Donuts eatery.
Despite all of the recent progress, the fate of the glass unit across from the 7-Eleven still is pending. Campus Walk is still talking to several prospective operators, but Hoe would not say anything more. The space was originally supposed to contain a Pizza Hut, but the operator declared bankruptcy and backed out of the project.
“We are still talking to a variety of users about that particular property. We’re waiting for a really good offer,” he said.
From what he did elaborate on, the property will most likely be a restaurant, along the lines of an Italian eatery, or perhaps a salad outlet.
The University has no direct control over the project; they simply leased the land to Campus Walk Limited Partnership, who is solely responsible for construction, care and management of the spaces.
Now that the spaces are ready to be turned over to the operators, the responsibility for their fit out construction and their opening rests with the operators themselves.
Look for the opening of the newest additions to the Liacouras Walk stores after Aug. 15.
Eric Raible can be reached at email@example.com