Katz: Marvin Center renovations behind schedule

A senior GW official expressed doubt last week that all venues in the redesigned Marvin Center eating areas would open on schedule. But Aramark officials maintained that they would meet the Aug. 28 deadline they set for the project’s completion.

Executive Vice President and Treasurer Louis Katz told The Hatchet Aug. 18 that he thought J Street would not be 100 percent complete on Aug. 28, the first day of move-in. He said some venues on the first floor would open on Aug. 28, while others will not be completed until after the academic year begins on Sept. 1.

Katz declined to specify which venues would open late but said The District Market, an upscale grocery store located in the Marvin Center’s basement, would open its doors Aug. 28. Katz’s observations are based on several tours he has made of J Street during the summer.

Aramark officials said all Marvin Center venues would open on Aug. 28. “Everything’s on schedule,” said Amelia Powell, marketing director for Aramark, which spent about $4.5 million on the renovations. “We’re still targeting for that date.”

Workers were beginning to stock shelves in The District Market last week and are nearing completion of the upstairs venues, which include Wendy’s and a Starbucks with an expanded seating area (for a full description of the new shops, see story of page 14).

Katz said he was satisfied with the progress Aramark has made on the renovations, which began in late May. He said Aramark, which must pay financial penalties if it does not finish the changes on schedule, had a near-impossible task of remaking J Street in three months.

On a visit to the Marvin Center construction site Aug. 23, workers could be seen working on the building’s first floor venues, all of which had not been finished.

They were also still constructing the stairwell that will surround a small-scale Washington Monument and connect the basement and first floor.

Katz said students would have “plenty of places to eat” in the event that all J Street venues are not open for move-in. He cited the opening of several new venues in the Ivory Tower and 1957 E Street; students are also able to use Colonial Cash at dozens of off-campus locations.

“Will there be plenty of places to eat? Yes,” Katz said. “Will it be what we hoped would be in place by the beginning of the academic year? No.”

He added, “We’re trying to make sure that everything gets open as soon as possible.”

–Jeffrey Baum contributed to this report.

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