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University Blvd. gets a facelift

MATT ROBLES/Arizona Daily Wildcat
History graduate student Stephen Neufeld orders a coffee from Mark Albertolle, a pre-business sophomore, at Espresso Art Wednesday evening.
By Kylee Dawson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 22, 2004
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With the addition of a new building and two new restaurants, the face of East University Boulevard will look very different after a series of changes over the next several months.

When the Marshall Foundation, which leases most of the businesses on East University Boulevard and some sections of North Park Avenue, surveyed UA students about which features they like in coffee shops, many said they would like to patron a coffee shop with more space, said Jane McCollum, general manager of the Marshall Foundation.

Because of the responses, Espresso Art, a coffee shop with an art gallery and game room, opened Sat. Oct. 11.

Another new restaurant, Chicken Kitchen, will open next door to the coffee shop in November.

The foundation also has plans to construct a one-story building on the northwest corner of University and Park, McCollum said.

The new one-story building will be built on the former site of a shopping center, which was demolished in July, McCollum said.

Construction is expected to be finished next March, she said, and several new establishments will be available for patronage.

Previously located on the upper level of the building on the southwest corner of East University Boulevard and North Park Avenue, The Fat Greek, a restaurant run by George Markou, was relocated to the lower level of the building and now has a patio seating area.

The restaurant has taken the place of Samurai Sam's, a Japanese restaurant, and Sips 'N' Cigs, which was also run by Markou.

Samurai Sam's will relocate to one of the spaces in the new building, but Sips N Cigs will not relocate because Markou terminated his lease when The Fat Greek restaurant moved, McCollum said.

In addition to Samurai Sam's, six or seven other businesses will be added to the new building, including a high-end locally owned convenience store, an Italian restaurant that offers gourmet pizzas, and a juice bar, McCollum said.

Other stores include a "high fashion" clothing store and Style America, a full service hair salon geared towards women.

McCollum said the Marshall foundation hopes to relocate other eating establishments on the upper level-including Oriental Express, a Vietnamese Restaurant and The Road Kill Grill-to the space where the Arizona State Savings & Credit Union is currently located on East University Boulevard.

The credit union would be moved to a vacant building on at 1001 N. Park Ave., across from Manzanita-Mohave Residence Hall, which was once a Carl's Jr.

Though the Marshall Foundation and credit union are still in the negotiation phase, the changes could be made in six to eight months, McCollum said.

Following a death in the family, Café Paraiso, located in the Geronimo Plaza on East University Boulevard, has closed after 12 years of operation, said Ray Easterbrook.

"It's been a traditional family operation," he said.

Ray Easterbrook's mother Rose opened the café in 1992 her other son Clark.

This year, Café Paraiso closed temporarily in early August, but the Easterbrook family decided not to reopen on Saturday as planned after Rose Easterbrook died on Aug. 17.

McCollum said people have expressed interest in renting the space to open another restaurant.

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