Au Bon Pain and Starbucks coming to U-M Union as University Club prepares to close
The University Club, which first opened in the Michigan Union in 1937, will close its doors for good Aug. 13. The club will be replaced by Au Bon Pain, a cafe and bakery with approximately 315 locations worldwide.
Angela Cesere | AnnArbor.com
“Our selection committee was very impressed with both Au Bon Pain and Starbucks,” Susan Pile, the director of the Michigan Union. said in a statement.
“Both are a good fit with the broad range of students and others who visit the Union each day.”
The union has been undergoing renovations to its ground floor level throughout the summer. Vendors on that level, which include Ahmo’s Mediterranean Grill, Panda Express, Subway, Freshens and Wendy’s, are expected to open later in the summer.
The Michigan Union said in a press release the Au Bon Pain will be open the same hours the union is open, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday. The University Club only has been open for lunch for a number of years.
According to its website, the University Club began as a faculty club that included a billiards room and a two-story lounge and adjoining library. In 1970, the club reinvented itself as a “members-only” dining room and bar but continued to have trouble attracting membership due to high fees.
The “U-Club” became a nightclub frequented in the 1980s after membership fees were eliminated for University of Michigan students. Its popularity was enhanced by the fact it allowed entrance to students under 21 years old.
Pile said in the release the U-Club has struggled to capture a wide audience and remain financially viable for the university. The club stopped serving alcohol and became a lunch-only establishment in the 1990s.
Plans for the remodeling done by Au Bon Pain to the U-Club space will include a performance area for music and other presentations, according to the press release.
The new cafe will be Au Bon Pain’s second location in Michigan, joining a franchise in the Renaissance Center in Detroit. The Starbucks will be the tenth in the Ann Arbor area, and the fourth in the city’s downtown joining locations on Main Street, State Street and South University Avenue.
Ben Freed covers business for AnnArbor.com. You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2