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Coffeehouse Space Will Stay Empty for Now, Says CAC

By Lauren E. LeBon

NEWS EDITOR

The space of the former Coffeehouse will not host any new businesses in the near future, said Director of the Campus Activities Complex Phillip J. Walsh.

After the closure of the 24-hour Coffeehouse last December because of financial losses, an assembled advisory board considered student proposals for new dining and entertainment options for the space last spring.

The advisory board, consisting of CAC members and students, decided that the factors that initially led to the demise of the Coffeehouse, most notably the location on the third floor of the Student Center, would cause a new business to not be financially viable, Walsh said.

Gong Ke Shen ’99 submitted a proposal last year for a cafe serving bubble tea, a popular Taiwanese drink. The CAC told Shen that for the time being there would be no commercial food vendors in the Coffeehouse space because of the poor location and competition in the Student Center.

“They didn’t think the circumstances were right,” Shen said.

Walsh also cited the newer dining options available on the first floor of the Student Center, as well as across campus, as main factors that may prevent a new business in the Coffeehouse space from becoming successful.

Space to hold Friday evening series

Walsh said that the Coffeehouse space will continue to serve as a lounge where students can meet, socialize, and study. The food service space will not operate on a consistent basis, but will not be eliminated.

Walsh said that the “energy is to develop limited but consistent activity in the Coffeehouse.” He said new business proposals will not likely be considered this year, but that the Coffeehouse space may undergo another evaluation in the fall of next year.

SaveTFP is organizing free events in the Coffeehouse on Friday nights. SaveTFP is a student group funded by MIT Medical and Community Development Substance Abuse programs devoted to “preserving and enhancing the good things about MIT,” according to the group’s Web site. The Undergraduate Association and the CAC are also collaborating on the project.

The current plan is for the Friday evening series to feature performing groups, poetry readings, comedy shows, open rehearsals, music, open mic nights, and other events, according to an e-mail recently sent to MIT performing group leaders by UA Dining Subcommittee Chair Reuben L. Cummings ’04.

“We want to evolve the program in a way that’s useful for the community,” Walsh said.

Walsh said that it may take the whole year to get the Friday evening series up and running. However, he added that the next step is to create an event for Tuesday evenings that will be focused on the arts.