The first floor of the Little Building is set to be converted to a commercial retail space as renovations to the building continue said Arthur Mombourquette, senior associate vice president of real estate. The area will be available to outside companies looking to put in a shop or business.
Mombourquette also said concerns for both security and the flow of students into and out of the building are being taken into consideration.
“We haven’t nailed that down completely, yet. Ideally we would find a way to create a completely isolated student entrance,” Mombourquette said. “This would be totally inaccessible to the public; that’s our goal.”
Before construction began, a Dunkin’ Donuts occupied the space adjacent to the bottom floor of LB. Sophomore visual and media arts major Emily Crowe said it was a popular location for students trying to get their caffeine fix because it was accessible from inside the Little Building and accepted ECCash.
“I don’t know if they want to do the same thing, but I feel like a Dunkin’ Donuts was the best idea because it let me get coffee and go to class,” Crowe said. Crowe said she’s concerned about how useful the the retail space would be and the effect on foot traffic at the corner of Boylston and Tremont.
“I feel like [the retail space should be] something that would be good for students and not cause too much traffic,” Crowe said. “Like the Dunkin’ Donuts did get a lot of traffic, but also if it’s in affiliation with Emerson it can make them money.”
Construction started immediately after students left residence halls for summer break in May 2017. About two years are left until it is completed, making it ready for move in at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
Emerson has also been working with both the city of Boston and the surrounding communities to minimize the impact of construction on daily life. In an open letter to Emerson students, President Lee Pelton said the temporary inconvenience would have significant long-term advances.
“No doubt, these two projects will cause a certain level of disruption. However, the College will do its very best to mitigate any disruption to our community,” Pelton wrote. “Most important, however, any temporary inconvenience will be offset by critical and significant long-term improvements to the quality of student life.”