Dinkydome construction takes toll on businesses

Only three businesses remain at the building which was once full of restaurants.


A year ago, the Dinkydome was another place for students to study and eat. Now, while the dome is still there, the bustling of customers and the smells of food are gone; replaced by the odor of drywall and the sounds of construction. Six restaurants once occupied the Dinkydome , but now all of them have either shut down or have relocated because of Doran ConstructionâÄôs renovation of the building that began in August. âÄúMost of the food service businesses upstairs closed down last spring,âÄù said Chris Shaffner , co-owner of Downtime Bar and Grill, which is attached to the Dinkydome . âÄúBut they were not doing that well to begin with.âÄù The $36 million renovation and the construction of the new Sydney Hall apartment complex by Doran Construction began in late August and should be finished by this time next year. âÄúThe construction has really been a damper,âÄù said Chris Wing , an employee at the Student Bookstore still attached to the ground floor of the building. Wing and Shaffner both point to the construction on the sidewalk and the closure of parking spaces as major issues facing their businesses during the renovation and the construction. But while Shaffner is enduring some of the troubles of construction, he is pleased that Doran has helped his business through the construction process. âÄúThe previous owners didnâÄôt do a lot of upkeep, so when these folks came in, one thing they did is they wanted stuff to work right,âÄù said Shaffner. The new owners built Downtime a new walk-in cooler and paid for the bar to move their beer drafts in order to accommodate the construction. When construction is done, Shaffner said the renovations could bring more than 500 new customers into the area. âÄúI think it will bring more vitality to the area,âÄù Shaffner said. Some businesses still thrive at dome, elsewhere The businesses still operating at the Dinkydome have all signed waivers acknowledging the construction process, Doran Construction owner Kelly Doran said. The ones that left did so on their own. Some, like the Dinkytown Wells Fargo, hidden in the corner of the dome, are still doing well at their current locations. The bank chain has not experienced any effects of the renovation and it plans to ride out the construction, manager Gloria Inamagua said. Others felt the need to move before construction took its toll on business. Gary Magee and Paradigm Copy Services had been located on the second floor of the Dinkydome since 1993 . This June, Magee picked up his business and relocated onto Washington Avenue in order to escape the construction. Magee noticed a drop in customers from the general public when the renovation process began. He is unsure if he will move Paradigm back to its original location when the construction is complete. âÄúIt was a typical old building,âÄù Magee said . âÄúIt wasnâÄôt designed for a Minnesota winter.âÄù