Franciscan Square developers have apparently stolen a page from the figurative college student handbook for happiness: offer free Wifi, delicious new meals opportunities and space for relaxation, and the students will come.
Headlining the list of Franciscan Square updates is the release of tentative opening dates for two food and beverage outparcel tenants, as well as continued development of a highly-anticipated sit-down restaurant.
Brooklyn Bagels, the first outparcel space, is set to serve “breakfast sandwiches, bagels, fast grill-type items and coffee roasters out of Pittsburgh,” said Joseph McGurn, director of Physical Plant at Franciscan University. “It’s a coffee shop/bagel type of place.”
Immediately adjacent to that structure is the soon-to-be-opened Rubi’s Pizza and Grill, where according to McGurn, students can find “good, New York home style pizza, plus hot sandwiches and such.”
The first two restaurants “should be opening in early November,” said McGurn. “There are ongoing discussions right now” about adding a third food and beverage outparcel tenant, he said. McGurn anticipates a January opening for the sit-down restaurant, located only steps from the hotel. He added that vendors will not initially offer to subsidize student meal plans, though meal plan integration is certainly a possibility in the future.
“The sit-down restaurant will be a big point of excitement once that is made public within a month,” McGurn said. He, on behalf of the university, encourages students to “stay tuned” for more restaurant details, including the name and culinary demographic.
Given the flexible nature of Franciscan Square, the first new mixed-use development venture in Steubenville in some time, McGurn also anticipates a series of diverse constructions in the near future.
“Further enhancement to all of that is the traffic signal currently under construction at the main entrance to the university, right across from Franciscan Square,” he said. The signal itself, now warranted because of prospective student foot traffic once outparcel tenants are operational, should be operational in January.
The establishment of multipurpose office spaces will also command a majority of construction crew attention in the coming months, said McGurn, although any and all office tenants will be subject to the approval of the university. “We’re looking for people that align with our value system,” said McGurn. “We want to keep our values at the forefront.”
Another gem of the space remains its central green. Based in Pittsburgh, Prospera Hospitality has provided responsibility not only for the upkeep of the Best Western Plus at the Franciscan Square; the organization will also routinely schedule dynamic events for the public. “All sorts of events will be scheduled for the central green space,” said McGurn. He envisions everything from bocce tournaments to youth soccer camps, farmers markets to concerts, collectively fostering community togetherness.
The entirety of Franciscan Square is altogether “going to be a beautiful spot, and a great place to hang out” upon its completion, said McGurn. The space will also sport complimentary Wifi access for hotel and restaurant guests, university students and the general passerby.
Through it all, the ongoing development of Franciscan Sqaure, said McGurn, continues to exemplify the mission of the university. Said McGurn, “Our mission is to educate, evangelize and send forth joyful disciples. There’s lots of opportunity for student employment down there.”
“(Students) could have that impact on the public,” McGurn said. Student involvement at Franciscan Square, on any level, is sure to foster the “person-to-person contact,” which McGurn said allows students to both “enjoy the central green” and to impact people.
Additional constructions at Franciscan Square will concern the establishment of a large meeting space, to facilitate wedding receptions, high school dances and, eventually, year-round conferencing.
Students are encouraged to stay up-to-date on the latest updates regarding the Franciscan Square. From tasty new meal opportunities to a verifiable new social hangout staple, it seems a new chapter in university entertainment is right around the corner. Or, in the case of Franciscan Square, it’s waiting at the bottom of the hill.