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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    What’s new at the U?

    Rebecca Noble

    Hub at Tucson, Level and Next, new student apartments on First Street, on May 12. The buildings shelter approximately 1,000 people combined who are mainly students. The bottom floor of the buildings are occupied by a variety of restaurants and businesses.

    The UA and its surrounding communities experienced a substantial amount of change and growth within the last year.

    The Sun Link Tucson Modern Streetcar, Tucson’s largest construction project to date, connects Tucson’s popular entertainment districts: Main Gate Square, Fourth Avenue and downtown. Meanwhile, a variety of new restaurants take refuge at the bottom of the three newest high-rise, luxury student-housing complexes: the Hub, Next and Level, located just off campus near Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue.

    According to the streetcar website, the project received more than $63 million in federal funding, served 964,764 passengers as of May 7 and helped generate more than 50 new bars and restaurants along the route.

    At the northwestern corner of the UA campus, three luxury student-housing complexes sit sheltering approximately 1,500 people combined.

    Level was the first to arrive in 2013. This year, Next, Level’s sister-building, and the Hub joined in on the action, with both housing more than 500 students each.

    With the installation of these luxury student apartments, there is no shortage of food options nearby. Several new restaurants located under the apartments also opened within the last year.

    Joey Farcone, a business sophomore, lived in the Next apartments.

    “I feel like these restaurants are built for college students,” Farcone said. “We are always trying to get food, and they are right here; my favorite out of the bunch would have to be Potbelly [Sandwich Shop].”

    Potbelly Sandwich Shop specializes in hot, deli-style sandwiches and is accompanied by other forms of college dining. Goodness Juice Bar and Fresh Food offers a refreshing health-conscious option.  Pizza Studio serves up quick customized pizzas and Smoothie Factory offers a variety of smoothies, as well as other health goods.

    Brooke Goldstein, journalism sophomore and employee at the Smoothie Factory, said the new restaurants bring diversity to the community.

    “I think that all these stores are not only attracting students, [they] are also bringing in a lot of people from around the neighborhood,” Goldstein said. “And of course, for the students, it’s just easy for them, because they live in the apartments above.”

    In addition to these new restaurants, an old favorite, Cheba Hut, made a return to campus in April after short closing in December.

    James “Rabbit” Porter, general store manager of Cheba Hut on Sixth Street, said the new and improved Hut is officially reopened.

    “Well, since we are under new ownership, business [has] been great, and we have been super busy,” Porter said. “I’ve had a lot of people come in and say that they missed us, but most people come in and comment on how much better it is now. Customers tell us how much cleaner it is and how much shorter the wait is; people think it has just gotten better overall since we’ve been back.”

    Students can once again get a blunt of their favorite sub, toasted and delivered — such as an old campus favorite, the white widow.

    Moving westward, the streetcar arrives on Fourth Avenue where longtime local favorites mix with more new businesses.

    New shops on Fourth Avenue include Generation Cool, Pop-Cycle, Razorz Edge and even a new restaurant, U.S. Fries, which specializes in making entrees from french fries.

    Further along the streetcar route is Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails, a new club in the downtown area hailing from Scottsdale. The club acts as both a restaurant by day and 21-plus bar/club by night, specializing in alcohol infused milkshakes.

    Within the past few years, both the downtown Tucson and university areas have made substantial growth in business. The addition of the streetcar has provided students and Tucson community members better access to the restaurants and entertainment around campus.


    Follow Lauren Renteria on Twitter.

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