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Eddy Street Commons nears completion

Madeline Buckley | Thursday, August 27, 2009

Living in an apartment complex in Eddy Street Commons, junior Matt LaFleur often jokes that he is closer to some campus buildings than his old dorm, O’Neill Hall.

“We have a perfect view of Hesburgh Library,” said LaFleur, who lives with two roommates. “It’s funny to think about it, but we are now closer to a lot of things on campus.”

The complex, one of the first buildings in the Commons to open on Aug. 15, is fill to about 70-75 percent of its capacity, according to Gregory Hakanen, director of Asset Management and Real Estate at the University. Another apartment complex will open in 2010.

“The University is very excited that after years of collaborative planning with the city, with local residents and with Kite Reality, that Eddy Street Commons is becoming a reality,” Hakanen said.

Although not in time for the home opener on Sept. 5, Hakanen said four retail venues will be ready for business by the second home game: The Follett Notre Dame Bookstore, Chipotle, Outpost Sports and Hot Box Pizza. The Bookstore is tentatively set to open Sept. 19, and the other three, Sept. 18.

Later in the year, a 24-hour fitness center, a salon, a bank, a breakfast restaurant, Five Guys Burgers and two other restaurants – Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House and Kildare’s Irish Pub – are expected to open. The estimated opening dates of these venues span from late September to January.

Hakanen said Eddy Street, which has been closed for about 14 months, is expected to open Monday Aug. 31., allowing foot and motor traffic through the Commons.

“I think it will be a real addition for students living on campus,” he said. “Most colleges and universities have a college town where you can leave your dorm and walk to stores and restaurants. Notre Dame has never really had that.”

Hakanen said the Eddy Street Commons apartments are not geared toward student housing. Some graduate students live in the complex, but only a handful of undergraduates are currently renting.

LaFleur said he and his roommates put down a deposit last October.

“We were far and away one of the first groups to go talk to them. There was no building yet. It was just a hole in the ground,” he said. “If we waited even four months, I don’t think we would be living here.”

But the early deposit was more than worth it.

“The amenities are awesome. Everything is top-notch,” LaFleur said. “We have a gym and a private theater.”

LaFleur said he generally describes the theater – a common area for residents of the complex – to his friends as similar to Coleman-Morse Center lounge but with two 50-inch televisions, a Blu-ray player and an Xbox 360.

“There’s also this screen that’s maybe two time the size of the screens in the classrooms of DeBartolo that lives in the ceiling,” he said. “You can bring it down to watch DVDs or just TV.”

LaFleur said the apartment complex’s proximity to campus was a major part of the decision process to live there.

“The big thing was that I don’t have a car,” he said. “There aren’t too many options if you don’t have a set of wheels, so this is perfect.

“Now we are just really excited for all the retail to open up.”

Hakanen said the venues in the Commons are about two-thirds committed.

“With an active football season and all the people coming for that, I am confident that Kite will be able to lease the rest of the space in a pretty short amount of time,” he said.