Lower Sproul Plaza restaurants, student store plan to open in next few weeks

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Kevin Cheung/Staff

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Restaurants and businesses in the newly renovated Lower Sproul Plaza are gearing up to open within the first weeks of classes, while student organizations are set to move into the new Eshleman Hall later in the fall.

The opening of the plaza will proceed in stages, with stage one to include the Cal Student Store as well as restaurants, according to the project’s website. The student store is set to open next week, while restaurants such as House of Pi, True Blue Burgers and the Bear’s Lair Restaurant and Bar are planning to open around the week of Aug. 26, the first day of class.

The second stage consists of the opening of event spaces within the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union — set to open by Sept. 1 — while student- and campus-run organizations will move into the upper floors of Eshleman during the third stage.

The plaza closed for construction in 2013. The $223 million project included the rebuilding of Eshleman Hall, updates to the MLK Jr. Student Union, a renovation of Anthony Hall — which houses the graduate assembly — and the planting of new trees in the area.

City utility and construction work will continue into the fall, even after buildings are completed, said Christine Shaff, spokesperson for UC Berkeley’s real estate division

Additionally, the ASUC and ASUC Student Union may look for funds to build out a basement below the student union, according to Lavanya Jawaharlal, ASUC Executive Vice President.

Organizations planning to relocate to Eshleman must wait because construction on Bancroft Way is currently blocking the south entrance of the building, Jawaharlal said. Once the doors are clear, about 50 organizations will move in.

These include the ASUC and parts of the Graduate Assembly, the Multicultural Research Center and Public Service Center, and various student-run groups. Some of these organizations are currently housed in Hearst Gym and will retain their spaces there until the end of December.

Specific move-in dates are still tentative, according to Jawaharlal, but smaller opening ceremonies will take place throughout the fall semester, with a grand opening planned for sometime in January.

“We want a continued flow of students coming into the building,” said Jawaharlal. Ceremonies will likely include speeches from ASUC and graduate assembly leaders, as well as free food.

Contact Mira Chaplin at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @mirachaplin.