After more than 20 years of serving as a one-stop convenience shop, featuring candy, soft drinks, beer and pizza by the slice, the space previously occupied by the In-N-Out Pizza convenience store may soon be home to a restaurant.
Cpmi Inc., the real estate agency who leases the building where In-N-Out was located, is looking to rent the space at 615 East University Avenue to possibly one of three restaurants. But students living in the area said they would prefer to see a store similar to In-N-Out instead of a restaurant in the space.
Cpmi Inc. Lease Administrator Peggy Grant said the landlords are doing significant remodeling to the building in order to prepare for the new tenants. Some of the construction includes creating a handicap-accessible entryway, installing new display windows and doing repair work to the walls and floor.
Grant said the In-N-Out tenants let the building fall behind on repairs, and the building needs to be updated in order to compete with surrounding businesses.
“These are necessary improvements,” Grant said. “We want it to be similar in quality to Mia Za’s,” an Italian cafe located next door to In-N-Out, which closed last spring.
A new tenant has yet to sign the lease, but Grant said Cpmi is negotiating leasing terms with three different restaurants interested in renting the entire 3,500-square-foot area. Several other businesses are also looking to rent a 1,750-square-foot space within the building.
Due to privacy reasons, Grant said she could not release the names of the businesses.
While students said they are tired of seeing an empty storefront and would prefer to see the space get filled, they also said they were not excited about the prospect of a restaurant filling the vacancy.
LSA sophomore Kristen Smitherman lives in East Quadrangle Residence Hall and frequently bought products from In-N-Out before it closed.
Smitherman said she is upset that the store is gone and wishes for another convenience store to open in its place.
“I think they are doing a disservice by not putting in another convenience store,” Smitherman said. “The In-N-Out was pretty cheap. I think we have enough restaurants down this strip.”
LSA sophomore Sarah Mills said she wouldn’t mind a restaurant or cafe opening because it would be a new place to study, but she said she would rather see a small produce market be put in.
“Another place to study would never be bad, but I think that a small little place that carries fruits, meat and some dry goods would be helpful to have near campus,” Mills said.