By Holly Wells
Taylor House/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Construction nears completion on the new building at the northwest corner of North Park Avenue and East University Boulevard. Concerns have been raised as to whether or not removing the sidewalk along East University Boulevard is a safety hazard.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, January 26, 2006
The construction of the building on North Park Avenue and East University Boulevard is causing a sidewalk closure and traffic delays, but students say they are excited about its pending opening.
Jane McCollum, general manager for the Marshall foundation, said the one-story retail building owned by the Marshall Foundation should be turned over to the tenants by Feb. 26 and opened shortly thereafter.
The complex was originally scheduled to open in January, but a national cement shortage in October and a plumbing error temporarily delayed construction.
"We're still in a pretty good position," she said. "We're just lucky we got the cement when we did."
The complex will feature a locally-owned convenience store called Time Square Corner Market, which will sell typical convenience items, but may also feature cosmetics, costume jewelry and freshly popped popcorn, McCollum said.
The complex will also have a coffee house, hair salon, smoothie shop, hat store, tanning salon and a woman's clothing store called Pitaya.
The Marshall Foundation, which owns every property on University Boulevard between North Park Avenue and North Euclid Avenue except Frog & Firkin, No Anchovies, Chen's Café, and Landmark Clothing and Shoes, is also in talks with a hookah lounge and hopes it will be added to the list of tenants.
"It will bring a lot more soft goods and entertainment to the street," McCollum said.
When deciding what kind of tenants to pursue, McCollum said, the Marshall Foundation talked with focus groups made up of students, faculty, the UA community and people who had never been on East University Boulevard. The Eller School of Business helped put the focus groups together.
"People are looking for more of a night-life feel," she said. "That doesn't necessarily mean more clubs, just more of an entertainment component."
McCollum said the foundation also knew the UA wanted to bring more amenities to students.
The sidewalk closure is creating more traffic on North Park Avenue and safety issues for pedestrians, but McCollum said the foundation has tried to limit the amount of time the sidewalk is closed as much as possible.
"People understand we're in a urban area and we're trying to complete the project," she said.
Pre-business freshman Danielle Roesch said she visits University Boulevard often and said the new retail shops will bring more students to the area.
Roesch said she was most excited about the grocery store and the tanning salon.
Pre-communication sophomore Amy Voss said the new retail shops will be a good addition, but said she'll be glad when construction is over because having to cross the street to use the sidewalk gets annoying. Graduate student Lauren Dreyfuss said she sometimes uses North Park Avenue to get to and from classes.
Dreyfuss said the sidewalk closure causes traffic delays, which can be frustrating. But she said it's understandable with all the construction.
Sgt. Eugene Mejia, University of Arizona Police Department spokesman, said there hasn't been an increase in traffic accidents at the site as a result of the construction.
Mejia said pedestrians should use caution and use the sidewalk across the street.
When pedestrians try to use the road to get to where they are going, it creates a conflict with the vehicles that are lawfully using the roadway, he said.
"It's important students use common sense," Mejia said. "It only takes a few seconds to cross the street."
The Marshall Foundation is a non-profit organization and garners funds through properties it leases and other foundation investments. Much of the money is then donated to the UA in the form of scholarships and other projects.