Chick-fil-A and Starbucks won’t be the only familiar dining option for students on campus, as the Cal Poly Corporation announced a new building renovation set to include The Habit Burger Grill and Panda Express.
Formerly the home of The Avenue and 805 Kitchen, Bldg. 19 is about to undergo a renovation to “modernize foodservice and improve the overall student experience,” according to Cal Poly Corporation’s LinkedIn post.
The Cal Poly Corporation Board approved the financing for the new project in a board meeting on Jan. 5. The campus’ primary food service and food production will “improve seating areas, circulation paths, furniture and equipment”, according to the corporation’s LinkedIn site.
“The project is the latest of the $75 million in investments that the Cal Poly Corporation is putting towards improving the Cal Poly student experience,” Cal Poly Corporation spokesperson Aaron Lambert said.
The renovation coincides with Cal Poly Corporation’s plans to update the University Union. Construction on the dining complex is set to begin this spring and is sourcing inspiration from the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Chelsea Market in New York and Krog St. Market in Atlanta, according to Cal Poly Corporation’s featured projects site.
“The reimagined Building 19 ambitiously set outs to create a lively street fair inspired atmosphere where customers can choose from nine separate dining venues, flexible in-door out-door seating options and a greatly improved dining experience within the core of Cal Poly,” Lambert said.
Updated University Union (UU) projects can already be seen on campus with a revamped Mustang Station Patio completed in the spring of 2020. The patio features a fireplace and the addition of roughly three dozen outdoor seats. The UU Starbucks was also re-modeled in the summer of 2019 in an effort to align with the current franchise’s standards.
The updated dining venue is projected to improve the overall student experience by increasing campus connectivity, according to Cal Poly Corporation’s website. The building will not only include a modernized atmosphere but will also include seven other dining venues in addition to The Habit Burger Grill and Panda Express. Outdoor seating and a deck are also set to accompany this experience, according to the plans of this project.
“The project includes two new national brand partners including Panda Express and The Habit Burger Grill as well as new in-house concepts including Mediterranean, Sushi-Poke and Grab-&-Go Market platforms,” Lambert said.
With ambitions to appeal to students by supplying a better dining experience, not all students are particularly happy with additional fast-paced food chain outlets on campus. As “bread and pasta-based options” infiltrate almost every campus dining venue, students have also requested for more diverse options to sustain a well-balanced diet.
“Overall, these will add more variety to the options provided on campus, which is definitely going to be appreciated by students,” business administration sophomore Nicole Milling said. “In terms of the actual food, I think businesses like this contribute to forming unhealthy habits, especially when it’s in a convenient location on campus.”
The already implemented Vista Grande Dining Complex that was completed in fall 2020 was a success, Milling said. The complex includes six dining venues intended to “provide fresh, healthy, made-to-order food options for all diets, lifestyles and busy student schedules” according to the featured projects website.
“I have only been [to the Vista Grande Dining Complex] once, but it’s really nice,” Milling said. “I love all the outdoor seating and the variety of food offered inside.”
The overall project budget is $27.8 million and construction is set to last until fall 2022. However, it is recognized as an aggressive goal by the corporation, so construction is possible to last until winter 2023.