Apartment complex to tower over Dinkytown businesses

Doran Companies will begin demolition in November near the Dinkydome to make room for the construction of Sydney Hall, a 13-story apartment building that will be able to house 536 people when completed. Dinkytown business owners are hoping Doran Companies doesnâÄôt demolish the local economy in the process. Doran Companies purchased the Dinkydome, located on the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street, and a parking lot behind it for $9.8 million last week. Doran has plans to restore the Dinkydome for retail purposes and build an adjoining apartment building. Despite having to do some adjusting during construction, all the restaurants and businesses currently located in the Dinkydome will be allowed to stay if they wish to continue their leases, Doran Companies owner Kelly Doran said. When the development is finished âÄî in July 2010 if everything goes according to plan âÄî it will boost business in Dinkytown, Doran said. The new building will have extra retail space for more businesses, but Doran said he doesnâÄôt know what type of retailers will move in. âÄúI think this is going to help the entire community,âÄù Doran said. âÄúWeâÄôll be adding a lot of people to the area, which is going to help local businesses.âÄù The new apartment building will also support the UniversityâÄôs need for student housing close to campus, Doran said. While heâÄôs glad there will be more residents in the area, Skott Johnson, president of the Dinkytown Business Association, said heâÄôs concerned about the types of renters who will occupy the new retail space. âÄúThere are a lot of chain-type businesses that could change the shape of Dinkytown,âÄù Johnson said. âÄúWe have a small business entrepreneurship flavor in Dinkytown and we want to keep that.âÄù If too many large chains move in, the rent in the area would likely increase and force some smaller business out, Johnson said. Currently there are 39 restaurants in Dinkytown and only 12 of them are franchises . Johnson said he is also concerned that some businesses in the Dinkydome now will not be able to afford to stay there once the construction is completed, but he declined to name those businesses. Whether the new development helps or hurts Dinkytown depends on who moves into the apartments, Mike Mulrooney, owner of Blarney Pub and Grill , said. If mostly graduate students move into the apartment complex, business should improve because they typically have a higher expendable income, Mulrooney said. He said Doran Companies told the Dinkytown Business Association in meetings that the apartment complex will be appealing for graduate students. âÄúIf it turns out to be what [Doran Companies] said it was going to be, IâÄôm really excited about it,âÄù Mulrooney said. âÄúNow it comes down to a trust issue.âÄù Sydney Hall will have a variety of room styles and rent will range from $550 to $1,200 per month, Doran said. Christopher Shaffner, the Manager of Downtime Bar and Grill , also said heâÄôs excited about the new development. Even though Downtime will have to temporarily move its walk-in coolers into the neighboring bookstore, he said the apartment building will help business in the long-run. âÄúThere will be a lot more people who can go out to the bar and not have to worry about having to get home,âÄù Shaffner said.