WUSA is planning to renovate the Bombshelter Pub space in SLC to create a social atmosphere lounge experience, primarily for undergraduates, with bar and restaurant offerings.
Seneca Velling, Vice President of Operations and Finance, proposed the business concept to the council at the last WUSA students’ council meeting on Oct. 6.
The proposal passed with a majority of the council in favour.
He said previous surveys of students helped create the business concept. The common theme from most answers was that there was a lack of social lounge spaces and community on campus.
“We identified that social lounge dining concepts fit very well with student demands as well as with market performance of what students have expressed interest in having on campus,” he said.
The Bombshelter Pub was shut down in Dec. 2018 because it was struggling to meet its cost of sales and labour targets.
The accrued cost of running the pub far exceeded gross profits from the business.
“By the year’s end, the pub was budgeted to run a loss of $160,000; however, the actual loss was about $325,000, so it ran $200,000 over budget,” Velling said.
The new student lounge will be open 24 hours, and always accessible to students. This had been an issue with the Bomber, which would be closed up in the evening because of liquor, Velling said.
It would also cater to a larger population, as previously, the pub was frequented by only a small portion of students.
“It was very popular for 20-30 per cent of the students. In fact 70-80 per cent of the students wouldn’t go at all. [WUSA wants] to build a place that at least 60 per cent of the students will want to use,” Velling said.
He said it would be similar to MC Comfy Lounge or POETS in CPH, but with a bar and full service restaurant.
“There will be board games, and wall mounted TVs for video games, and it will be available for student clubs, societies to book,” Velling said.
From Oct. to Dec. 2019, additional focus groups and surveys will be carried out on what sort of space students would want to see.
From Jan. to Feb. 2020, WUSA will hold an internal design competition for architectural and design students. The competition will be followed by consultation with design companies. They hope to open by Spring or Fall 2021.