Night spot to open near campus

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August 22, 2008

5:01 AM

Students looking for more nightlife options in the area could soon get their wish, thanks to a recent partnership between the College and private developers.

The Green Leafe Cafe has already begun construction on the area previously inhabited by Bikes Unlimited. The new venue, named Green Leafe Underground, is expected to be entertainment based and completed by 2009.

Glenn R. Gormley ’84, CEO of Green Leafe Inc., said that he is interested in giving College students more late-night options.

“We definitely think it would be good to give the kids more alternatives,” he said. “We’re trying to get this right for the students.”

Gormley said students make up one of the most underappreciated markets in the area. He estimated the College community makes one quarter of the New Town Green Leafe purchases, and almost 50 percent of transactions on Scotland Street.

Gormley also said the company is trying to cater more to students by introducing W&M Express to the Cafe and Flex points in the near future. He also suggested alcohol-free nights in the club for the enjoyment of underage students.

“We do feel that there is an opportunity,” Gormley said. “There are 7,000 students across the street, so we would like to give them what they want.”

Gormley said that student input was paramount to bringing nightlife to the College.

“I invite the students to e-mail us or call us or give us some idea,” Gormley said. “We’re trying to do this for the students, and we would like their input.”

Gormley said his company has been working alongside the William and Mary Real Estate Foundation to properly develop the Underground with student interests in mind. The Foundation, established in 2006 to manage properties in the best interests of the college, also recently submitted a request for proposals to develop a parcel of land between Richmond Road and Prince George Street.

The foundation is accepting schematics from developers through September.

“The main emphasis of this project is to satisfy student demand for retail and entertainment within walking distance,” Executive Director Nancy Buchanan said.

The land was purchased in February by the Foundation and includes three adjacent properties between the Williamsburg Baptist Church and Wawa, totaling one acre in size.
Plans for the area include a three-story structure with room for 9,000 square feet of retail on the first floor. The upper-two floors would be apartment-style housing with room for 42 occupants.

Buchanan said the College has already contacted the foundation about leasing the upper area to become part of campus housing.

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