Johnson City is a constantly expanding city.
With new shops arriving seemingly each day, it is no surprise that a new shopping center across from ETSU will be opening in the near future.
University Shops is a retail development across from ETSU. This retail center will be 14,000 square feet and have two phases. Construction on the new building began in March 2016 and will continue throughout the year.
Starbucks has already signed on to be the anchor tenant for University Shops. The coffee shop will occupy a 2,050-square-foot area at the end of phase one.
Phase one will total 6,200-square-feet, while phase two is projected to occupy an 8,000-square-foot area.
The building of University Shops began in early summer 2015.
There is no set timeframe for phase two to be completed, but Starbucks, which resides in phase one, should be opening in the near future.
“The major economic drivers in the area are, of course, East Tennessee State University,” said Aaron Ligion, of LCRE Partners. “This area has a healthy cross section of different customers with different needs.”
ETSU has a Starbucks location in the D.P. Culp University Center already, leaving many wondering how successful the new Starbucks will be among students.
“It is less convenient,” said commuter student Paul Taylor. “They will probably have faster service due to a larger facility.”
Not only will this Starbucks be larger and have more employees, but this location will also have a drive-thru. Following suit with the surrounding restaurants, the drive-thru will likely be popular among students.
Many of those living on and off campus have stated that the on-campus Starbucks is more convenient to them, but not all agree.
“The new one will be more convenient for me,” said senior Molly McCormick. “The Culp is way out of the way for me.”
On campus, there are seven different restaurant options, but they are all condensed versions of their off-campus counterparts, with Starbucks being no different.
“The one on campus is more convenient,” said senior Ryan Andes. “Although, they do not offer everything a regular Starbucks offers.”
Andes said she was very likely to visit the off-campus location for this reason.
The LCRE Partners are in search of new tenants for University Shops. There will be both retail and restaurant spaces up for lease.
“We believe the demand there is for full service and limited service restaurants as well as personal service and some retail shops,” Liagon said.
McCormick said that it would be nice for a ETSU-themed shop to be included there, while sophomore Dominique Cain would like to see a Steak and Shake.
“Adding more restaurants and shops within walking distance would be nice,” said Cain, an on-campus resident. “I am excited to see this project to completion.”