Conference discusses University Shoppes Plaza demolition
Published: Friday, May 18, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 18, 2012 21:05
Thursday, Shayan Elahi, candidate for Florida House of Representatives District 49, held a conference in front of Underground Bluz, across from UCF, to discuss issues surrounding the demolition of University Shoppes Plaza on the corner of University Boulevard and Alafaya Trail.
Business owners were surprised this week with a letter sent by mail advising that their leases would not be continued. The date of termination fluctuates from business to business. Some were given until May 31 – two weeks from now – others were given until Sept. 30, 2012 to relocate.
Elahi, a UCF graduate, has been coming to this plaza for 22 years and is working diligently to get the voices of the owners heard.
“I used to come here [Underground Bluz] back when it used to be called Java Jams,” Elahi said.
Underground Bluz has been in business since 2002. Its owner, Betty Whitcomb, graduated from UCF in 2001 with a degree in accounting and wanted to create a safe place for students to have a good time.
“Kids come in here calling me ‘mom’, parents have come in here after graduation thanking me for watching after their children,” Whitcomb said. “This spot has done me well for years, and now I’m considering giving it all up because of the difficulty of finding a new spot.”
This is the case for many of the shop owners. Anmol Indian Cuisine closed its doors earlier this year and moved to Miami amidst the rumors of the demolition. The owners of the Miss Saigon Vietnamese restaurant are making plans to move back to Vietnam. Knight Library and Lazy Moon have not yet made plans for relocation although they are some of the most popular spots near campus for UCF students.
The plaza is being leveled to make way for a brand new 12-story student housing unit slated for an opening in Aug. 2014. Plans include a bottom-level shopping plaza but none of the current business owners have been offered a spot to come back and reopen.
A call made to American Campus Communities requesting official demolition dates was not returned as of the date of this publication. For more information, be sure to pick up Monday’s issue of the Central Florida Future.