Residential space debated for Dinkydome

Sydney Hall developers want to add two floors of residential space in the historic building.

Syndey Hall Construction

Ian Larson

Syndey Hall Construction

James Nord

Thanks to a change in plans, a few lucky students might be able to gaze up at the DinkydomeâÄôs signature bulb on their way out the door each morning. Doran Companies, which purchased the historic building in 2008, is appealing to the city of Minneapolis to convert the top two floors of the three-story complex into apartment units. About 35 bedrooms will be added to the roughly 200 already at DoranâÄôs development on 15th and University avenues . âÄúThis Dinkydome building had 40 years of neglect and so itâÄôs been a long, multiphase process to restore and rejuvenate this building,âÄù owner Kelly Doran said. âÄúThis building will be in great shape for another 100 years.âÄù Last year, Doran downsized the project, Sydney Hall, reducing the number of floors. In order to continue, Doran must complete plans that will be voted on in a public hearing by the Minneapolis Planning Commission , which could occur in April at the earliest. If passed, the vote could be appealed, which would put the proposal before the City Council, Minneapolis Senior City Planner Janelle Widmeier said. In the past, some of DoranâÄôs proposals have been appealed, she said, and the development has been more controversial than other large building projects in the area. After securing the cityâÄôs permission to change the two floorsâÄô designation from commercial to residential, Doran would simply have to receive a building permit and begin construction. He said he hopes to have the additional residential units ready for move-in for the fall semester. In addition to the proposed residential area, Doran said he plans to significantly alter the first floor of the building by bringing in two new businesses and rearranging others, which could be completed by the end of the year, he said. The Wells Fargo situated on the 15th Avenue side of the Dinkydome will be moved into the Sydney Hall complex and the independently-owned Student Bookstore will be downsized by about one-half, he said. âÄúWhich will really suck,âÄù said Christopher Healy, textbook manager of the bookstore . âÄúWe wonâÄôt have windows, we wonâÄôt have the nice, visible presence anymore, weâÄôll be down and our only entrance âĦ will be a door in the middle of the steps and that will be our only storefront presence.âÄù Tension between Doran and business tenants has occurred throughout the developmentâÄôs history. Businesses on the second and third floors of the Dinkydome were forced to vacate, and the ones that are left on the first floor have seen a drop in business. Healy said that lack of parking, overall construction and a closed off sidewalk have affected business most significantly. However, Gloria Inamagua, manager of Wells Fargo, said she is pleased with the situation her branch is in because Doran will be paying for a new bank in the Sydney Hall building. Doran said he secured funding to convert the top floors internally, as well as from increased support from his lender. âÄúEveryone understands the logic of what weâÄôre doing and that this project will be very successful, so theyâÄôre willing to support the project,âÄù Doran said.