The owner of Cone E. Island is pushing top administrators for a spot back on campus about one month after closing the storefront that he has filled on Pennsylvania Avenue for the last three decades.
Owner Jun Esmila submitted a proposal last month to rent a space in the Science and Engineering Hall, which will open in early 2015. He is vying against more than 20 restaurants that have also submitted proposals to fill the spot, Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia Knight said last month.
More than 2,000 people have signed a petition to bring the ice cream shop back to campus, which shut down after years of debt piled up.
Esmila said the petition had encouraged him to find a way to come back to the University, but if he doesn’t win a spot in the engineering hall, he will have to pack up and leave the area.
“Either I can get in here or I’m done. This is what I love the most. There is no place like home like this, as long as it is part of GW. Someone offered me Maryland or Virginia and I said no thank you,” Esmila said, adding that he expects to hear back next month.
Knight said last month that administrators have met with student groups, like the Student Dining Board, to weigh potential options for the space, considering whether it should be a sit-down or takeout restaurant.
“People see this as a place that they want to be. I think that’s great for the campus and it’s great for the variety for the community,” Knight said then.
University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt declined to provide names of applicants or confirm that the officials received a proposal from Cone E. Island.
Colleen Murphy contributed reporting.