New Hub student housing will impact local businesses
A view of the HUB student housing towers on March 31. A third tower is expected to be complete by Fall 2019.
Local businesses at the corner of Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue will soon come to a close once a new Hub student apartment building construction begins this summer.
The Hub tower has been operating for more than a year with UA students filling their apartments. This construction will open more vacant student apartments for the start of the 2019 school year.
“I definitely think another tower is necessary since there are a lot of students who don’t find suitable housing,” said Kayla Owen, a sophomore in the Eller College of Business.
According to Owen, the Hub is a great place for students to meet and make connections. The full college experience does not just come from living at the dorms; apartment buildings are another way of experiencing a higher education.
“I have been living in the Hub since the fall of 2016. I pay a little over $1,000 a month, I think, and it’s pretty well-accommodated,” Owen said.
“I think it’s sad for the businesses that will have to move out because of the construction,” Owen said. “But if the company that is building will compensate them, I guess it is better for them.”
Two Speedway Boulevard restaurants, Boca Tacos y Tequila and Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue, will be displaced but will not necessarily disappear.
“They approached us about figuring out a way to find a new space,” said Josh Proctor, operations manager at Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue. According to Proctor, Core Spaces, the parent company of the Hub, approached Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue with intentions to help the business relocate smoothly without huge losses.
“They worked hard to make a good deal happen,” Proctor said. “They worked to find us a building on terms that were agreeable to us. There was not a part of this where they came in and handed us an eviction notice or anything like that; they worked with us to find a good deal.”
Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue will be closing sometime during May and opening their new location at First Avenue and Roger Road. There will also be a new campus location in August, beneath the first Hub building, according to Proctor.
Another business that will have to close its operations is Boca Tacos and Tequila at 828 E. Speedway Blvd.
“I knew a long time ago that this would happen. Core contacted my landlord,” said owner and manager of Boca Tacos and Tequila, Maria Mazon. “I was not surprised. I knew they would come and knock on the door.”
Boca Tacos and Tequila has been operating for seven years, and before them Greasy Tony’s restaurant operated at the same location. Before Tony’s, there used to be a Taco Bell in that location, according to Mazon.
“The first Hub, every once in a while, [blocked] my parking lot, placing heavy machinery on my parking lot. It was a constant war with that,” Mazon said. “I got a lot of flat tires because of the nails flying around. But they took care of the problem there.”
RELATED: New high rises cast long shadow
As far as the restaurant’s relocation, there is no specific time or place where Boca can continue with its services.
“When I find something,once it is all said and done on paper, I will let people know,” Mazon said.
Construction of this new tower will also affect remaining businesses in the area.
“It’s the typical good news/bad news situation,” said Wildcat Laundry owner John Thompson.
Thompson said his business dropped 16 percent at the cleaners during the construction of the first two Hub towers.
According to him, the factors that come into play when there is construction in the area discourages customers to come into his laundry business for service.
“The road was closed; traffic was all over the place,” Thompson said. “When construction starts on the new one, we’ll have the same issue, perhaps more.”
Follow Victor Garcia on Twitter.