Development puts Dinkydome in danger

Converting the Dinkydome into student housing won’t boost Dinkytown’s future.

A major development company has its radar set on the Dinkydome. The company is in the process of purchasing the building in the heart of campus to convert the space and surrounding area into a student housing unit, the Daily reported last week. Development would include the Dinkydome itself and the surrounding parking lot, stretching to Fourth Street. These plans are disconcerting to us, as we have seen Dinkytown lose its local flavor from years past, and this could be another major blow to small businesses and student hang-out spots in Dinkytown.

Transforming the Dinkydome and the parking lot into an expensive 1301-style housing unit seems to be the last thing Dinkytown needs. Students looking for generic, over-priced housing have plenty of options, and students shouldn’t have to pay upward of $650 rent, no matter how ideal the location. On the other hand, students looking for a good café or place to relax and study in Dinkytown are hard pressed to find anything without a corporate veneer. The deal would certainly eliminate vital businesses from Dinkytown, including the independent bookstore and Paradigm copies, where students can escape the absurd book prices at Coffman.

It’s safe to say the Dinkydome has not really lived up to its full potential. The drab food court leaves much to be desired in such an aesthetically pleasing building in an ideal locale. Apart from Espresso 22, a favorite cafe for many University students, the Dinkydome lacks the character it deserves. However, changing the space into an overpriced housing unit is not the best way to give the place a facelift. We believe this space, under the right management, could turn into a great student study spot or student center on campus.

Dinkytown seems more like a ghost town these days, but its streets are still important to those of us who cherish our unique time at the University. The Dinkydome space has untapped potential that needs to be explored. With the right guidance, the beautiful building could be a gem for our community.