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Eddy Street Commons continues expanding

Joseph McMahon | Friday, November 13, 2009

Despite the troubled economy and tight financial times, the development of Eddy Street Commons (ESC) has been proceeding well with approximately 70 percent of the 88,000 square feet of retail space committed, director of asset management and real estate development Gregory Hakanen said.

“Tenants will be building out their space and opening over the next three to six months,” he said. “This is a remarkable achievement in the current economy. Interest in the remaining space is strong.”

Hakanen said the completion of the project is “a function of market demand for the various products.”

“The retail and office space will likely be absorbed within a year or so, as will the rental apartments,” he said. “ESC is going remarkably well given the difficult economy. ESC is a multi-phased, mixed-use project.”

Hakanen said students can expect to see the opening of Anytime Fitness, a 24-hour fitness concept, Nicholas J Salon and Spa, Old National Bank, two sit-down popularly-priced restaurants including Kildare’s, an Irish-themed restaurant/pub, a New-York style deli that will serve breakfast, a phone store and possibly either a small-format grocer or a drug store.

Hakanen said in addition to the retail space, the University has leased the top two floors of the office building located on the southwest corner of Eddy St. and Angela Blvd.

Eddy Street Commons is being developed by the Kite Realty Group, a publicly-traded real estate investment trust located in Indianapolis. Hakanen said it is Kite’s responsibility to fill the space in the new development.

“As developer, it is Kite’s responsibility to build, lease and sell the commercial and residential space in [Eddy Street Commons] the University has no responsibility or liability for any part of [Eddy Street Commons],” he said.

Kite, in turn, has three partners that they are working with — Buckingham Companies, which is working to develop The Foundry rental apartments, White Lodging, which is developing the hotels and Highline Construction, which is developing the for-sale residences.

“We have been very pleased with Kite Realty Group as the developer, and their ability to execute the project in an extremely challenging economic environment,” Hakanen said.

Several new outlets have already begun operations in Eddy Street Commons, including Chipotle, Five Guys Burgers and the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore.

“By all outward appearances business has been good, but we’re still in the ramp-up period in which businesses are opening on a rolling basis, and people are still finding their way to [Eddy Street Commons],” Hakanen said.

In addition to the new businesses, Hakanen said the first tenants moved in on Aug. 15 to the Foundry West on the northwest corner of Napoleon and Eddy Sts., while the Foundry South on northeast corner of Eddy and Napoleon Sts. will open in December and the Foundry North on the southeast corner of Eddy St. and Angela Blvd. will open in June.

“Reviews I’ve heard have been highly positive in terms of the quality of the units and the amenities offered,” Hakanen said. “Tenants are a mix of working adults, retirees, alumni, grad students, with a small undergraduate population.”

Hakanen also said the first for-sale residential units, called Champion’s Way City Homes, will be delivered later this year.

However, Hakanen said while the construction on the commercial and residential properties will be finished soon, the construction on the hotels and some of the for-sale homes will take a good deal longer.

“Construction of the commercial buildings along Eddy St. is nearing completion, with interior buildouts for apartments and commercial [office and retail] tenants still ongoing,” he said. “Construction of the hotels will stretch out for several years, as will construction of the for-sale residences.”

Hakanen said the limited-service Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel would most likely be opened in time for the 2010 football season, while the full-service Marriott “has been delayed due to market conditions, and will be commenced when conditions improve.”

Nonetheless, Hakanen said overall the University is “extremely pleased with ESC so far.”

“The buildings are high-quality in design and construction, with the traditional architecture harmonizing with its surroundings without mimicking campus architecture,” he said. “While there is no question that the economy has slowed the project to some extent, we are thrilled with the progress to date and look forward to continued development.”