Sparky’s closing to make way for office space

by Peter Frost

A well-known campus bar is trading its location and its ‘spark’ for a card catalog, a stack of books.
Sparky’s Bar and Grill announced its last call early Wednesday morning and will move into a venue owner George Medich Jr. will call The Library.
Station 19 Architects, who own the building at 2001 University Ave. S.E. will use the space to expand their offices downstairs.
“It’s a sad day for the University community to have to see (Sparky’s) turned into an office building,” Medich said. “For the past 20 years, a bar and restaurant has been located there. It’s unfortunate that Station 19 Architects wouldn’t allow us to renew our lease.”
Sparky’s leased the bottom two floors of the Oak Street and University Avenue Southeast building for just fewer than four years.
“The company is growing, and because (the upstairs) is an office space with many tenants, we didn’t have anywhere else to expand but downstairs,” said Terri Heitzman of Station 19 Architects.
Hence, the company ended the bar’s lease, forcing Sparky’s to close.
Sparky’s last call Wednesday was anything but smooth, as some bar patrons ripped signs off the walls and attempted to steal promotional neon signs.
“It’s too bad that some people tried to ruin the night for others,” Medich said. “But overall, it was a great night, and not too much damage was done.”
Closing Sparky’s means some students will lose their jobs, but Erin Thompson, a College of Liberal Arts sophomore, said that employees will continue to work to clean and move the bar for now.
“It’s not like we’re out of a job or anything,” Thompson said, “but it kind of sucks not having tip money anymore.”
Thompson said that Medich guaranteed her a job at The Library and that she’ll go back to working for him as soon as the new bar opens.
The Library will take over the old Fowl Play building on the corner of Fourth Street and 13th Avenue Southeast and is currently being remodeled.
A sports bar, a dining area and a live music and dancing area will be featured at the new Dinkytown watering hole.
The new bar, whose atmosphere probably won’t resemble an actual library, is expected to open its doors by early October.

Peter Frost covers business and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3215.