Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Skip navigation

UCF's Athletic Village not doing well?

Add topic

Post

UCF's Athletic Village not doing well?

A reason we may have been fortunate to build our Village after them…

My sister's friend was just over and she's a UCF student home for the break. We got talking about various things and somehow got onto the topic of UCF's retail/sports complex. After she left, I went online to see what exactly they have there… I know they have PapaJohns and a Barnes but didn't know what else.

I came across an Orlando Sentinel story entitled, "UCF's Golden Knight Plaza has hard time attracting customers." Much like our own Sentinel, the link is now dead, but I found a discussion on a UCF message board about it where students were saying that some of the businesses were thriving and others were diving.

First of all, UCF apparently installed metered parking all around the retail, which really served to deter a lot of people. I hope FAU doesn't plan to do this but I think our Innovation Village is close enough to Fleming Hall, etc that you could park there and walk over. However, if FAU does charge for parking and Innovation Village vendors plan to increase sales by attracting people from outside of the university – which is very likely – the outside customers have the issue of having to pay to park to get average food. As the students argued, why spend extra money to park when you can get food off-campus without paying a parking fee? So in essence, FAU should keep parking free if they want to avoid UCF's mistake.

Getting into the actual retail component, Nature's Table was some sort of upscale restaurant that had closed, sparking the Orlando Sentinel article. On the message board, students said the food was too expensive and the experience didn't justify the cost. If you consider the upscale nature of Boca Raton, FAU may try to go this route instead of putting in, say, a Taco Bell, and have it blow up in their face.

Another issue for UCF was that certain restaurants didn't take the university meal plan (or flex bucks), causing certain students to only eat at certain places. I don't know if this will be an issue for FAU because currently we can't even use meal plan anywhere else than the Centre Marketplace… can you use Flex Bucks at the Breezeway Cafe? I pay for everything with cash so I have no idea.

One person who worked for Nature's Table said "All places in the plaza except Red Brick [Pizza] are struggling, honestly i dont see volcanoes [coffee shop] making it. Papa johns will never close for the fact its labeled UCF Papa johns. They are never busy and have turned into a manager training store."  Oy.

And despite all of the housing nearby and 45,000 students, one poster observed that:

"Somewhat of a side note, I think maybe we are still a "small time" school with a lot of students (non-sports related, I love where UCF sports are heading) I am talking atmosphere on campus. Most people leave campus during the day when they are done, they dont hang out there… This is also not a bash, but it is a closed campus."

So it sounds like the FAU Innovation Village could learn a lot about this from UCF.

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
Back to the top

Post

Re: UCF's Athletic Village not doing well?

These types of small (but huge) things should be kept and typed into a bullet-point format and titled "Things to remember when building da village" or something like that.

They might seem small now - who cares about paid parking when we need $20 million to build the darn thing first.

HOWEVER, they are VERY important and should be kept on a shelf somewhere. After we get the funding, blow the dust off of the document and submit it.

Good work Adam!

I'm a proud lifetime member of the FAU National Alumni Association. Are you a member? Join now at www.faualumni.org.
Tradition in the Making, One Alum at a Time…
Back to the top

Post

Re: UCF's Athletic Village not doing well?

The problem is that the community AROUND campus is booming now and provides a ton of competition for the village.  They are about to finish a huge retail complex directly across the street from campus which will compete for business.  Down the road, Oviedo is building TONS of retail aimed at targeting UCF clients.  And of course University and Waterford are going to provide a ton of options as well.

The Village will takeoff as soon as the better restaurants fill their spaces. A college kid probably isn't going to spend $8 on some foo-foo Natures Table item.  However, there are restaurants called "Knightros", "Tailgaters", and Firkin Pub going in which should attract good business.

The parking is the only big issue that they need to work out.  Business people won't pay to eat there, students won't risk a ticket to park in an invalid zone, and just finding parking can be madness during lunchtime.  Plus if a student is in the middle or other side of campus they're going to go to the Union or Chick Fill A or some other restaurant closer to where they are.  The Subway in the Union has been the most profitable in the nation for 3 years running now.

Currently it's not a big issue though.  The stadium was financed to help pay for the athletic village and the initial attendance estimates to cover cost was set at like 23,000 average for the past year.  UCF averaged just shy of 45,000 per game.  There should be plenty of money to cover the costs of the village until the profitable, popular restaurants fill their spaces and bring in the traffic.

Tailgater's will be an INSTANT hit during football season.
Back to the top

Post

Re: UCF's Athletic Village not doing well?

UCFKnight85 said

Currently it's not a big issue though.  The stadium was financed to help pay for the athletic village and the initial attendance estimates to cover cost was set at like 23,000 average for the past year.  UCF averaged just shy of 45,000 per game.  There should be plenty of money to cover the costs of the village until the profitable, popular restaurants fill their spaces and bring in the traffic.
I'm sure the Village will finance itself but it may become more and more difficult to attract and retain retailers there for all the reasons you stated. This may obviously become an issue for us as well… especially since I'm sure that FAU is hoping to make money on parking. We'll see how this unfolds. I do want to let Business Services knwo about the UCF issues though because I think they're legitimate hurdles.

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
Back to the top

Post

Re: UCF's Athletic Village not doing well?

owlcountry said

UCFKnight85 said

Currently it's not a big issue though.  The stadium was financed to help pay for the athletic village and the initial attendance estimates to cover cost was set at like 23,000 average for the past year.  UCF averaged just shy of 45,000 per game.  There should be plenty of money to cover the costs of the village until the profitable, popular restaurants fill their spaces and bring in the traffic.
I'm sure the Village will finance itself but it may become more and more difficult to attract and retain retailers there for all the reasons you stated. This may obviously become an issue for us as well… especially since I'm sure that FAU is hoping to make money on parking. We'll see how this unfolds. I do want to let Business Services knwo about the UCF issues though because I think they're legitimate hurdles.

I really think the problems will be solved as soon as unique, quality places go in AKA "Tailgater's".  I've asked around about Tailgater's and it's supposed to be the real deal- a BBQ sportsbar totally dedicated to UCF, great food, and 20 beers on tap.

Right now we have Redbrick, Subway, Jimmy Johns, etc. but none of those are unique enough where someone would go out of their way to go on campus for since they can be found in neighboring plazas.  However once Knightro's opens and Tailgater's opens, people will have a distinctive UCF establishment to visit.

Don't forget either that in just it's first year the UCF arena has attracted some HUGE acts to play there (Elton John, for example).  The more people realize that they can eat right in the plaza, the more people will make a total night out on campus.

Not to mention those sports bars will be JAMMED on game days.
Back to the top

Post

Re: UCF's Athletic Village not doing well?

UCFKnight85 said

owlcountry said

UCFKnight85 said

Currently it's not a big issue though.  The stadium was financed to help pay for the athletic village and the initial attendance estimates to cover cost was set at like 23,000 average for the past year.  UCF averaged just shy of 45,000 per game.  There should be plenty of money to cover the costs of the village until the profitable, popular restaurants fill their spaces and bring in the traffic.
I'm sure the Village will finance itself but it may become more and more difficult to attract and retain retailers there for all the reasons you stated. This may obviously become an issue for us as well… especially since I'm sure that FAU is hoping to make money on parking. We'll see how this unfolds. I do want to let Business Services knwo about the UCF issues though because I think they're legitimate hurdles.

I really think the problems will be solved as soon as unique, quality places go in AKA "Tailgater's".  I've asked around about Tailgater's and it's supposed to be the real deal- a BBQ sportsbar totally dedicated to UCF, great food, and 20 beers on tap.

Right now we have Redbrick, Subway, Jimmy Johns, etc. but none of those are unique enough where someone would go out of their way to go on campus for since they can be found in neighboring plazas.  However once Knightro's opens and Tailgater's opens, people will have a distinctive UCF establishment to visit.

Don't forget either that in just it's first year the UCF arena has attracted some HUGE acts to play there (Elton John, for example).  The more people realize that they can eat right in the plaza, the more people will make a total night out on campus.

Not to mention those sports bars will be JAMMED on game days.
Sure and I'm certainly not contesting the fact that there is great potential there, especially when the Arena is being managed by a company that's using it as a standard concert venue instead of pulling in small acts just to fill space.

As people from the UCF board have said, the businesses want consistency and while they make a killing on game days and concert nights, trying to get people there on a Tuesday at 2 pm is understandably difficult.

Unique establishments dedicated to UCF are one of the best projects you can do there but you could see where if everyone went that route, it would lose the luster. Tailgaters! Dedicated to UCF! Okay, but so are 15 other bars that just opened, some of them off-campus where you can get something other than beer… I know during the Bowl game, half of my table did shots every time FAU scored a touchdown.

So I'm not saying that your project is failing altogether because it isn't. As you've said, they have to find the right combination of places and rethink their costs for parking (and lot rent there, really). I understand the plight there and it's important that FAU not repeat the mistakes and open a Nature's Table. I think the only upscale place guaranteed to do well in our Innovation Village would be another Starbucks.

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
Back to the top

Post

Re: UCF's Athletic Village not doing well?

I just dropped my son off at UCF, he is starting his freshman year and he is living in the towers which is in their village.  The place is great with shops and housing along with the arena and the stadium, if our innovation village is anything like what I saw then I can't wait until ours is done.
Back to the top

Post

Re: UCF's Athletic Village not doing well?

I did some digging.  So far the only store to tank in the village was Nature's Table and frankly I'm not surprised.  It was managed poorly, had NO advertising anywhere, and was grossly overpriced for food that many college kids wouldn't eat anyways.

Firkin's (Pub) isn't coming anymore but it's due to a larger corporate problem than just not wanting to do it.  This loss is going to be instantly replaced by Tailgater's Bar and Grill which is slated to have 32 beers on tap and a 4 page menu.

The new Knightro's (marketplace style) is expected to BOOM.  With such a large concentration of people on that side of campus and a brand new place, they expect that location to do well over what the other marketplace on campus does.

In reality it seems to be doing very well compared to the initial outlook.
Back to the top

Post

Re: UCF's Athletic Village not doing well?

UCFKnight85 said

In reality it seems to be doing very well compared to the initial outlook.
Good to hear. Don't want FAU to reconsider our Village.

We're still not sure what's going in at ours – everything from an optician to a bowling alley has been discussed. I'm about 90% sure there will be a Starbucks there.

I know there are huge concerns about putting a nightclub there so that's almost definitely out unless it's an indie club and I doubt highly that FAU will get one of those.

The Student Union is looking at putting in a game store (i.e. GameStop) that sells and rents games (where Student Retention is now) and something where the Travel Agency is now… which should probably be a phone store (i.e. MetroPCS).

I do know there has definitely been pushes to get a late night restaurant facility there – I can't imagine it's going to be Taco Bell, however, because then no one would eat at Salsarita' in the Breezeway Cafe. Similarly, a name brand pizza place (like Domino's or Papa Johns) might conflict with Mamma Leone's in the Breezeway Cafe.

I think I'm going to stop by Business Services tomorrow and see what they're thinking…

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
Back to the top

Post

Re: UCF's Athletic Village not doing well?

Maybe a 24 hr diner setup like at FSU.

Florida Atlantic University Owls
2007 Sun Belt Football Champions 2007 New Orleans Bowl Champions 2008 Motor City Bowl Champions 2011 Sun Belt Basketball Champions No Bowls without Owls
Back to the top
Control functions: