Open for business

University of Winnipeg AnX opens

Starbucks and Garbonzo’s Pizza Pub opened up in the AnX on Monday. Dylan Hewlett

After delays and extended deadlines, the University of Winnipeg AnX is open and operational.

While the University of Winnipeg Bookstore and English Language Program (ELP) classes have operated out of the building since last summer, the rest of the AnX, which boasts a Starbucks and Garbonzo’s Pizza Pub, opened for the first time this past Monday, Jan. 16.

The AnX was first slated to open in September 2010. The date of opening was then pushed back to September 2011, according to press releases.

Bill Balan, vice-president finance and administration at the U of W, attributed the delays to issues with identifying tenants.

“When we took over the Greyhound space, we thought it would be a lot shorter and faster. We opened the ELP faster, but the process of identifying tenants took a lot longer,” Balan said.

In addition to Garbonzo’s and Starbucks, which are both run by Canad Inns, the AnX will also house the University College of the North (UCN) Midwifery Program, and will be a rapid transit hub, said Balan.

According to Balan, the cost of the period for the university to negotiate leases and construct space was calculated into the overall process, with no money lost over the delayed opening. Canad Inns has now signed a 20-year lease with the university.

Balan said the university remains true to its commitment to support local businesses.

“I don’t think anyone can argue Canad Inns isn’t a local company,” he said. “It’s become a major hotelier in the past 20 years, and we are extremely proud we are able to negotiate arrangements with them.”

Linda Ross, director of the bachelor of midwifery program (BMW) at UCN, said delays to the AnX’s opening have not affected the progress of relocating of her program.

The BMW will be moving to the AnX in June, Ross said.

The program is currently based in a temporary space on the University of Manitoba’s Bannatyne Avenue campus.

“We’re really looking forward to moving over there, I think it’s going to be a really nice space,” Ross said.

Kathryn Huebert and Mohammed Alyahya, two students who decided to check out the AnX for themselves on opening day, were both positive about the new space.

“It’s nicer than I thought it would be,” said Huebert. “It’s nice and modern in here. Garbonzo’s is different from the other restaurants in the university. Here you can sit down, it’s more of a lounge-type thing. I’m just excited that Starbucks is here.”

Alyahya said he was happy with having both a lounge and a Starbucks so close to campus, and was confident both businesses would do well.

“We have our own Starbucks, we have a good place to hang out. I don’t think we have anything like Garbonzo’s on campus,” said Alyahya. “It’s the first day and look at all the people coming in.”

Published in Volume 66, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 18, 2012)

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