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Commons a success so far

Joseph McMahon | Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Eddy Street Commons has continued adding new tenants and expanding since first opening in the fall, a University official said.

“The University is extremely pleased with both the project and with Kite Realty Group as the developer,” director of Asset Management and Real Estate Development Gregory Hakanen said. “It is meeting all of the goals envisioned by Notre Dame and by our institutional partners and neighborhood residents as well.”

Hakanen said the Eddy Street Commons project had been successful in “creating a ‘college town’ where none existed before.”

He also said it has brought “new residences and commercial businesses to a previously deteriorated neighborhood [and created] a bridge between the campus and the surrounding community.”

Currently, Eddy Street Commons has eight operating tenants — the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, Outpost Sports, Old National Bank, Anytime Fitness, AT&T, Chipotle, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Hot Box Pizza.

“I have heard reports that the businesses in Eddy Street Commons are pleased with their results in the early going, and things will only improve from here as more businesses open, giving consumers more reasons to be here,” Hakanen said. “We are very encouraged by the early results and look forward to continued growth.”

Patrick Kohn, one of the sales associates at Outpost Sports, said business had been “steady” since the store opened in October, but also added he would like to see more Notre Dame students in the store.

“We need to get the Notre Dame kids knowing we’re here,” he said. “The clothes are mostly modeled towards college kids.”

Four more tenants — Kildare’s Irish Pub, Nicholas J. Salon and Spa, Camellia Cosmetics and an upscale diner called The Mark — are signed on and are expected to open within the next few months.

An 119-room, limited-service Fairfield Inn and Suites is also set to open in June, ahead of the originally scheduled date.

Hakanen said Kite Realty Group did a “wonderful job” of finding tenants during difficult economic times.

“This has been the most serious recession since the Depression, and there is no question that it has slowed certain aspects of the project,” he said. “Nevertheless, it is a testament to both the fundamentals of the project and to Kite Realty Group that the project has moved forward.

“We are confident that the project will proceed as originally planned, although on a somewhat slower schedule than anticipated.”

Aspects of the project that will be delayed include the Legends Row condominiums and a full-service hotel. The full-service hotel will be in addition to the Fairfield Inn and Suites and will be open year-round.

“The full-service hotel has been delayed by the slowdown in the economy, which has virtually eliminated development of new full-service hotels country-wide,” Hakanen said. “However, this remains a premier site for such a facility, and we are confident that Kite Realty Group will be able to commence the hotel as soon as economic conditions allow.”

Hakanen also said the leasing of The Foundry apartments, which are owned and managed by Buckingham Companies, has “gone very well.”

The West Building opened in August and is currently at 90-percent capacity, while the North Building will open on May 1 and already has 55 percent of residents committed.

The Foundry has largely been populated by local professionals rather than students, and Hakanen said the average age of the tenants is 38 years.

“Buckingham made the commitment from the beginning that The Foundry would be a professional residential community versus student housing, and the design, amenities, services, management policies and pricing reflect this,” he said.