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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Student housing pushes out store

Colin+Darland+%2F+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ATUSD+Governing+Board+president+Mark+Stegeman
Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat TUSD Governing Board president Mark Stegeman

The owners of the Posner’s Art Store, located near the School of Art, will have to paint themselves in a new location by the end of the year to make room for student housing.

During the height of the store’s spring back-to-school sales, Campus Acquisitions, a company that invests in education-related real estate, told the specialty art store owners in January that they would have to move by the end of December to make way for student apartments. Posner’s, which has been family-owned and operated since 1913, has been leasing its current location at 1025 N. Park Ave. for the past 40 years.

“We’re all kind of disappointed,” said Kim Gay, an art education senior who shops at Posner’s on an almost daily basis. “Our classes are right here in the art school and we can always walk across the street to get our supplies and then get to work. We don’t know what moving is going to do, and I’m afraid it is going to hurt their business.”

UA professors and staff members also think Posner’s move might make it difficult for students who rely on the store for its supplies.

“It’s not going to be like it is now where students can run to Posner’s during a break or in between classes,” said David Huber, a digital studio technician in the School of Art. “They are really going to have to plan ahead.”

Emily Brown, one of the owners of Posner’s, said that while she is unsure where her business might be in upcoming months, she has been assuring customers the store will not close down for good.

“What I don’t want to get out there is that we are closing, because we’re not,” said Brown, who estimates about 90 percent of their profit comes from UA students. “And the students have been wonderfully supportive and have even offered to help us move when the time comes.”

Construction for the student apartments is slated to start in 2013, and may also include some retailing space in one of the buildings that could be available for Posner’s to use, Brown said.

“The problem with that is while they are constructing we would have to leave, then move back,” Brown said. “It gets expensive, and we are just a mom and pop store.”

If the retail space is available, Posner’s will move to a temporary location close to campus. The move, she said, will likely start during summer when a majority of students are gone and business is at a low.

“I think it is an unfortunate loss of a resource for students,” said James Francese, a pre-architecture freshman. “It’s close to campus and serves a great variety of majors. As an architect major, I think it (the move) is going to be a big inconvenience.”

Posner’s is just one of a few businesses located in the plaza on the corner of Park Avenue and Speedway Boulevard that were told to vacate due to construction. The owners of Lucky Chinese, a restaurant in the plaza, decided to close up shop and had their last day of operation on March 9.

“We are closing one chapter of our life together and looking forward to new ventures,” the owners said in a letter that is taped outside their former restaurant. “We have had an awesome run.”

Brown said she is hopeful that Posner’s will either rent space in the new apartment complex or find another location “very close” to campus for its centennial next year.

“We are very important to the UA,” Brown said, who has received letters from UA professors about how vital Posner’s is to the UA. “At this point we are just seeing what our options are.”

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