Negotiations Over Lower Sproul Leases Advance

Photo: Tuesday's meeting of the Store Operations Board culminated in a decision on terms to extend the leases of Lower Sproul vendors.
Anna Hiatt/Staff
Tuesday's meeting of the Store Operations Board culminated in a decision on terms to extend the leases of Lower Sproul vendors.

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After two months of delay, members of the ASUC Store Operations Board decided on terms for extending the leases of three campus vendors in Lower Sproul Plaza at its meeting Tuesday night.

After an hour-long discussion in closed session, the board appointed Co-Chair Dave Rhoads, board member Victoria Harrison and ASUC Auxiliary Director Nadesan Permaul to work with the vendors to reach a final agreement before the board's next meeting in July.

The terms themselves will not be disclosed until a formal agreement is made with the owners of The Coffee Spot, Healthy Heavenly Foods and Taqueria El Tacontento-all three of which have been operating on a month to month basis since 2006.

Following the announcement, the vendors expressed relief over the accelerated efforts to offer them lease extensions.

"Better late than never," said Haitham Alloun, owner of The Coffee Spot.

The board has asked the vendors to increase investments in their kitchens and other areas of the food court as a condition for lease extensions.

Other requested changes include rent increases and an agreement that would require each vendor to share percentages of its revenue with the ASUC once it surpasses revenue targets.

However, Healthy Heavenly Foods owner Ann Vu said a long-term lease would be necessary before improvements, estimated to cost more than $100,000, could be made.

"Just give us the five-year (leases)," she said. "Give us more time to improve our business."

Members of the board were confident that the final lease agreement would be beneficial to both the vendors and the ASUC.

"We are very confident that this will work out, and this will work out well," Rhoads said.

Discussions between the vendors and the ASUC will have to wait until both Alloun and Taqueria El Tacontento owner Arnoldo Marquez return from planned family trips abroad next month.

In order to avoid further delay, Alloun had asked the board to begin discussions immediately after the meeting. But board members and Permaul said the discussions would have to wait until his return late next month.

"We're all going to sit down and go over this and we'll have a dialogue at that time," Permaul said.

The board also approved an amendment to the lease of the currently-closed Naia Lounge, also located on Lower Sproul. The change would allow the gelato vendor to sell sushi and salads in order to broaden its business model.

ASUC Auxiliary Associate Director Tom Spivey said the plan still needs approval from the campus administration, but added he is confident that Naia Lounge will reopen by the fall semester.

"The plans are moving forward," Spivey said.

Tomer Ovadia of The Daily

Californian contributed to this report.


Zach E.J. Williams covers student government. Contact him at [email protected]

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