EXCLUSIVE: After more than three years of false starts and setbacks, Courtside is set to reopen as a full service Subway Café restaurant. Christina Farias, Director of Business Services at the Law Center, has been working on this project ever since Courtside first shut its doors and has seen talks with possible vendors fall through more than once. Farias told the Law Weekly that through the entire process she was focused on providing something “specially designed with students in mind.”
Farias expressed gratitude to the SBA – particularly SBA President Elizabeth Farrar and 3L representative Lisa Lowry – for continued support and critical insight into what students wanted from a new vendor.
Farrar was equally positive, remarking that “after more than a year of advocacy … SBA is glad to welcome a new vendor to Courtside.” Both she and Lowry were thankful to Farias. “We want to thank Christina Farias for her hard work and persistence in seeking a vendor for Courtside,” said Lowry.
Negotiations over the new location began some nine months ago with Subway LLC, a part of the Subway organization that acquires property for franchises. The Law Center was comfortable dealing with the company because main campus already had a positive relationship with them.
Farias provided the Law Weekly with some of the deal’s specifics. The Law Center is functionally a landlord, with Subway LLC as the lessor. Subway LLC, in turn, will manage the relationship with its franchisee. Farias noted that the Law Center knew and was happy with the franchisee for Courtside, an experienced operator with two other locations in the area.
The new Courtside — Subway Café
Subway Café may be unfamiliar to most students given that it is a relatively new format for the mega-franchise. Distinguishing the Subway Café from a standard Subway was key to meeting the needs of students, Farias said. In addition to the familiar sub sandwiches, the new Subway Café will offer breakfast food and pizza, and includes a coffee bar (serving Seattle’s Best) and convenience items.
Aesthetics also differ from a standard Subway; bright colors are replaced with muted colors for an upscale look. The remodeled Courtside will have glass doors over the two currently closed entrances to the café. Inside of the doors, the familiar Subway made-to-order case will be complemented by a drink cooler and several tables. The new coffee bar will be in the same location as the current bar, just outside the entrance to the new Subway Café.
Subway Café will be open Monday through Friday from 8am to 8pm during the academic year. The Law Center guaranteed those hours of operation by contract.
Construction in the heavily utilized Hotung building will be the final hurdle in this long process. Complicating matters is the emphasis on steel, glass, and marble in Hotung’s design. Noise carries so well in the building that someone tapping on the walls within the café can be heard clearly in the Supreme Court Institute moot courtroom.
Despite such challenges, administration is confident that it can avoid disruption to classes and the Institute. Courtside has been empty for long enough, officials say, so they are wasting no time. Construction will begin Monday. Although Farias was unable to provide a guarantee on the completion date, she expressed hope that Subway Café will be open and serving students before finals.
To celebrate the long awaited rebirth of Courtside, a Grand Opening celebration will be held for the Law Center community.