Developing company looks to convert Dinkydome

A potential apartment complex would offer more housing, but could push out businesses.

Alex Robinson

Depending on Doran Companies’ plans, Friday night Downtime patrons might not have a long way to stumble home. Or they might have to find themselves a new bar.

The developing company is in the process of buying the Dinkydome and plans to redevelop it into an apartment structure that would offer mostly student housing.

Scott Anderson, director of development for Doran Companies, said he couldn’t comment on exact details for the project, but did say he was excited about some of their ideas.

Cam Gordon said Doran Companies already has a purchase agreement. If things go as planned, the company will remodel the dome and also develop the parking lot space behind it – reaching as far as Fourth Street, Gordon said.

If building begins, the developers will most likely construct an apartment structure that has mostly multiple bedroom apartments and is about seven stories tall, Gordon said.

The development could potentially take some of the housing pressure off the surrounding neighborhood, Gordon said.

“There’s some potential positive outcomes for this,” he said. “Student housing that close to campus is an ideal location.”

Doran Companies initially planned on demolishing the dome, but is now planning to restore the building, Gordon said.

Currently, the Dinkydome doesn’t have a historic building status, so it would be legal for Doran Companies to demolish the building.

The Dinkydome was originally built to house the Bible College Library, but was then converted into a food court.

Gordon said even though the Dinkydome technically isn’t a historic building, it’s still important for it to be preserved.

“The fact that there is a developer that is looking at how they can preserve it makes a big difference,” Gordon said.

Kendre Turonie, Marcy Holmes neighborhood coordinator for student and community relations, said there is a need for more student housing in the area.

“If they’re going to be remodeling and creating safe livable spaces, that’s not a bad thing,” Turonie said.

If development begins, some businesses housed in the Dinkydome could potentially be pushed out.

The Dinkydome is home to several restaurants, Wells Fargo, The Student Bookstore, Paradigm books and several offices.

Gordon said if the apartment structure is built, it won’t push too many businesses out.

“I’m hoping they’ll be sensitive to the current businesses,” Gordon said.

So far the only businesses Doran Companies has talked about incorporating into their new development are Caribou Coffee and Erbert and Gerbert’s, Gordon said.

Many of the employees in the Dinkydome on Wednesday were not aware of the plans to sell and remodel.

Chaoxing Fu, who works at Hong Kong Express located in the Dinkydome, said he wasn’t aware of the plans to sell, but he doesn’t believe the restaurant will be moving anytime soon.

“This place makes good money,” Fu said. “I think students would be upset if we moved.”

Turonie said that while the development could have positive impacts, she doesn’t want to see the Dinkytown area overwhelmed with housing developments.

“I think we need to have a vibrant area in Dinkytown that keeps students there and encourages them to use the businesses,” Turonie said. “In that way it might be a little bit of a loss.”

The Dinkydome is currently owned by Juno Investments, which was not available for comment.