Negotiations continue as vendors vacate Lower Sproul

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Renovation of Lower Sproul Plaza, scheduled to begin soon, has left just two vendors open in the Bear’s Lair food court.

The renovations were set in motion by the passage of the B.E.A.R.S. Initiative in 2010, which approved a student fee to finance improvements to the plaza. The project includes the demolition of Eshleman Hall and renovations to the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union and the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Eshleman Hall was vacated earlier in the semester, but major construction on the hall and the other buildings surrounding the plaza is set to begin after the fall semester ends.

Though the majority of food vendors in the Bear’s Lair Food Court closed their doors last month, Subway and the Bear’s Lair Pub remain open. The pub is expected to stay open until the end of the football season. The owners of Subway are still negotiating the restaurant’s closure with the ASUC Auxiliary, the administrative arm of the ASUC. The Auxiliary and the ASUC Commercial and Student Services Board originally aimed to close all businesses except the pub by Sept. 30., according to Hedy Chen, an undergraduate student representative to the ASUC Commercial and Student Services Board.

Saigon Eats, The Coffee Spot, and Taqueria Oso De Oro vacated the food court on Lower Sproul Plaza at the end of September to make way for the $223 million redevelopment project, which will renovate the plaza and surrounding buildings.

Although the renovations on the food court — considered to be part of the Student Union remodel — are not scheduled to begin until late February, preparation for the construction, including cleaning the space and moving equipment in and out, might begin this fall, according to Christine Shaff, communications director of the campus Facilities Services Department.

“I have not heard that any significant construction will happen until everyone has moved out of the building,” Shaff said.

Associate ASUC Auxiliary Director Tom Spivey said discussions with Subway on its closure will be finished soon. A sign posted by the ASUC Auxiliary outside the food court stated that aside from the pub, all other businesses would close within the month of October.  None of the vendors is guaranteed a space to continue business after redevelopment is finished, according to Hedy Chen. The Lower Sproul renovation will continue through fall 2015, according to Shaff.

Bear’s Lair Pub owner Feng Wang said his business will remain in operation until Nov. 30.

In September, campus organizations finished settling into their temporary quarters in Hearst Gymnasium after moving out of Eshleman Hall in preparation for the building’s demolition.

Contact Libby Rainey at [email protected].