KnightNews.com has obtained exclusive new pictures of what “The Plaza” across from campus will look like after its demolished and rebuilt — and we’ve confirmed with company execs the bulldozing is slated to begin before the end of this year.
“The mixed-use student housing redevelopment project will contain approximately 1,300 beds aimed to meet the demands of UCF’s growing enrollment, and will feature state of the art amenities including a community center, restaurants and shops, a resort-style pool and parking garage,” said Gina Cowart, a vice president and spokesperson with American Campus Communities, the company building the project.
“The new development has received enthusiastic support from the local neighborhood and government as they are excited to have this new addition to the community,” Cowart told KnightNews.com
But while the new facility will be fancier and much more modern, not everyone is happy about the changes coming to The Plaza, across from UCF. Several popular college bars, like Knight Library, FUBAR and Underground Bluz, will be bulldozed to make way for the fancy new facility.
And some businesses, like Anmol Indian Cuisine and the Underground Bluz bar, were told they must close their doors by the end of this month, according to Bryan Eastman, Deputy Campaign Manager for the the Shayan Elahi for Florida House campaign.
The Elahi campaign held a press conference outside Underground Bluz Thursday, and alleged certain businesses, like Underground Bluz, were only given a few weeks of notice to move. “Anmol moved out last week as a result,” Eastman told KnightNews.com.
Video provided by Elahi campaign via YouTube:
But Cowart denies that the tenants were treated unfairly, and explained to KnightNews.com they knew this day was coming.
“We have been accommodating and are working with the current retail tenants regarding the plans to vacate the shopping center for demolition, which should be underway by the end of 2012,” Cowart told KnightNews.com. “We have communicated all timelines well in advance of what is required by law so current tenants have ample time to find alternate locations or plans.”
Cowart also reiterated that the new facility will also have retail space for tenants — which students will also be able to enjoy. And there’s already interest.
“We are currently in the process of accepting and reviewing tenant applications for the retail space,” Cowart told KnightNews.com.
But before the new facility can open, there will be that inevitable period where The Plaza that so many students spent some of the best times of their lives will be filled with construction workers instead of college students.
While the demolition is expected the begin by the end of this year, Cowart said construction completion is targeted for fall 2014.
Tell your friends:
But like the saying goes: when one door closes, another one opens. And a new bar called “The Station” is already set to open this summer, in the new plaza to the north, where Flippers Pizza is, according to The Station’s Facebook page.
But while the future of The Station seems more certain than the classic bars facing demolition in The Plaza, it will have to compete — at least initially — with students who may want to hang on to what little time they have left living it up at the college bars that have become such a big part of UCF history.
It’s still not clear whether Knight Library, FUBAR, Lazy Moon and other popular shops at The Plaza will reopen, or close their doors for good.
Check back to KnightNews.com for special coverage of these historic changes coming to the UCF area, and for updates on what the businesses will do.
See more pictures of the new plaza on the next page, below: