Durant food court is currently closed to the public but plans to reopen June 27 with a remodeled dining area, as well as improved recycling, trash and composting systems to reduce waste.
The remodeling will create a more open dining area according to Jeffrey Anhalt, the vice president of Rue-Ell Enterprises, Inc., which owns the Durant food court property. Anhalt said in an email that the remodeled seating is intended to improve the experience of customers by allowing them to mingle between restaurants with improved tables, benches and stools.
“While the renovations should benefit all of the restaurants, none of the costs of renovation are being passed on to them,” Anhalt said in an email.
Restaurant owners in this location were notified of the closure, according to Anhalt. He said in an email the closure was scheduled after UC Berkeley’s spring semester ended so that businesses would be less impacted.
Anhalt added that all restaurant owners who met with Rue-Ell Enterprises, Inc. were informed of the remodeling and able to advise the company on optimal closing dates.
However, according to Berkeley City Councilmember Rigel Robinson, whose district includes the remodeled location, the closure of the food court alarmed Berkeley residents.
“I’ve heard from so many residents who were alarmed to see the Durant Center closed,” Robinson said in an email. “Fortunately, it’s just for some very exciting renovations!”
Despite reopening June 27, this will not be the end of the renovations.
According to Anhalt, there are multiple stages of renovations — including changes in furniture — that remain under permits by city of Berkeley inspectors. He said in an email there are no expected closures after the initial reopening, as future renovations should not interfere with businesses’ ability to stay open.
However, outdoor seating will not be installed yet.
“Restaurants should have the ability to start reopening then, and would surely appreciate seeing old customers return, and new customers trying out the various cuisines,” Anhalt said in an email.
With the remodeling bringing an improved waste disposal system, Anhalt hopes customers will do their part to adapt to the changes.
He encourages students and visitors to properly sort trash in accordance with the disposal system.
“It is a vibrant and iconic destination so it’s no surprise that lots of people are waiting in anticipation to see it open back up,” said Telegraph Business Improvement District executive director Alex Knox in an email.
Matt Brown contributed to this story.