“Del Taco” to join caffeine club

Saucer building renovation makes progress 

The unidentified flying object that was the Del Taco residence is no longer unidentified.  The process of overhauling the original structure and property is almost halfway complete at this point, according to Hany Abonary, developer at Union Square Enterprises.

Construction continues on the old Del Taco Building on Grand Blvd. as of Aug. 29. Kristen Miano/News Editor

When the The University News previously reported on this story, leases for two potential tenants had not been finalized.

Those leases are now complete and the new tenants are expected to be Chipotle Mexican Grill, a national restaurant chain, and Starbucks Coffee Company.  These two chains have become highly popular around the country, especially among college-aged students.

“I’m so excited about Chipotle,” Amelia Arnold, senior at Saint Louis University’s College of Arts and Sciences, said. “They are all over in Chicago, so it’s nice that there will be a closer option than Qdoba.”

Abonary said the priorities they established for the property were safety, convenience and the addition of an amenity for SLU students. Although the building project has proven more expensive than their original estimates, Abonary was not discouraged.

“Our goal throughout this process was to create an addition to the area that was unlike any other,” said Abonary. “It is not earth-shattering, but through working with SLU, we hoped to provide an additional amenity for students and other members of the community.”

Starbucks is supposed to be completed by the end of September, while Chipotle is scheduled for completion sometime in October.  The Starbucks will include a drive-thru, and both new tenants will provide easier access to students than the previous tenant, Del Taco.

“I am so excited for a close option to become available, especially for it to be a restaurant like Chipotle.  I couldn’t be happier,” said Brendan McDermott, a junior in SLU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Abonary said it has been a pleasure to work with SLU, and this new complex will seek to create a more pedestrian-friendly area near campus.  In addition to the physical and asthetic benefits of the new complex, Abonary said they specifically looked for sustainable and environmentally-conscious tenants who sought to promote ideals that students of higher education would appreciate. Abonary said that Starbucks and Chipotle fit that bill.

Besides the new complex that is being constructed at the old Del Taco building, a possible new restaurant is in the process of becoming a reality within the Flats building.  Abonary said the process has taken longer than expected, but they were trying to be selective.

“We looked at possibly putting venues such as bars within the building, but did not feel it was right to put late-night venues that served hard alcohol below student housing,” Abonary said. “We were trying to wait for a good tenant to come along that would not disrupt student living, and we believe we may have found at least one exciting concept.”

Abonary could not go into detail, but did say that talks were “ongoing.”  He hopes to have something finalized soon.