Editorial: Storrs Center successful so far, but construction needs to stay on schedule
UConn students sometimes joke that the campus will look beautiful when it's done, a reference to how there always seems to be construction happening. One of the main pieces of construction that has been going on for the past few years is the Storrs Center. The area next to Buckley residence halls and the Daily Campus building has been part of a $220 million collaborative effort of private developers and the Mansfield Downtown Partnership, a coalition of town, university, business and community members.
What was once a hub solely for construction noises has now developed into a hub for social life. It's home to multiple places like Moe's and Mooyah, and has also gained traction in providing residence. All of the 300 apartments built so far in the first phase are leased, according to the Hartford Courant, and the commercial space has been leased to over two dozen stores and professional offices. All of this is tremendous progress and all involved should be commended for their efforts. However, this naturally begs the question "What happens next?"
This summer, the project will be moving into its next phase, called "Wilbur Cross Way." The focus of the project will be apartments rather than more stores and restaurants, and if construction starts this summer they could be finished as early as next year.
Students have already enjoyed the existence of the stores and restaurants and moving forward it is crucial that other student friendly projects continue on schedule. A Price Chopper is expected to open in the area over the summer and the transportation center is slowly coming to fruition as a bus station to Boston, Providence and other regional cities.
It is imperative that they get finished on schedule, which hasn't been the case with the transportation center. Neither will pose any benefit to students if they stay in a period of construction limbo for too long. The same can be said of new apartments given UConn's housing shortages, although no specific details have been released as to how many students own leases or plan on them once the new apartments are built.
It's been a lot of time and money thus far and there is still a lot to get done, but hopefully things stay on schedule. In the mean time we can only hope Howard Kaufman, managing member of the company developing the project, is true to his word when he says, "We're going to finish this."
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