Eddy Street Commons Update: November 6th, 2009

by Nick Molnar on November 6, 2009

editor’s update, 1/28/11: Eddy Street Commons has grown considerably. It has a handful of restaurants, retail, a fitness center and a bank. I’ve heard the apartments are leasing well, but the office space not as quickly. There are 25 townhomes built at “Champions Way.” For updated information on the townhomes, including sales prices and current photos, visit our January 2011 update on Champions Way at Eddy Street Commons.

Eddy Street Commons is open, despite the reportedly stalled state of significant pieces of the project . Eddy Street is open to traffic and lined with new construction between Napoleon and Edison/Angela. The buildings contain restaurants/retail at ground level with apartment or office space above. There are still incomplete interiors but there is a feeling of activity as you walk through.

Initial reaction is mostly positive, with some criticism that the area is overly planned and synthetic. A common question is “Can Eddy Street Commons become a memorable college town when it lacks a bar, contains mostly chain restaurants, and housing that is not intended for students due to age restrictions and prices?” I’d follow that with “If Eddy Street Commons isn’t intended to be a social space for students, who is the target market?”

Feel free to share any reaction you have to Eddy Street Commons in the comments.

Here are several photos taken November 6th, 2009.

I took this from the top of the parking garage to show the proximity to campus (the Golden Dome is visible in the background). This view will be blocked if the planned Marriott Hotel is built according to the site plans.

This is another view from the top of the parking garage. It shows ongoing construction of the Champions Way Townhomes. The model unit will reportedly be complete late in November.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Irish Eyes November 6, 2009 at 10:06 pm

[admin note: This comment was left on another post but I’ve moved it here due to its relevance.]

The only way Eddy Street Commons can be a success is to attract people who are not ND students. Campus visitors are an obvious draw but ultimately ESC has to become a destination for the locals to flock to all year round. Putting in some common strip mall retailers (Hot Box pizza, now there is a destination for you, heck, I’m sure people will drive 100’s of miles for that! (sarcasm) of course, the weird fake hippie edgy theme of “hot box”with its menu of “famous pies” “famous stix” “the hot chick” “pack a bowl” “on top” is kinda not authentic unlike the real Ben and Jerry’s company). The problem is ESC sorta competes with downtown (so no Macri’s, no South Bend Chocolate Company and other local gems since they already have stores downtown). What you get is just run of the mill chain stores…no local flavor. Heck, even LaFortune went to Subway (I know, I know it is one of the busiest single counter Subways around but that largely because students can use their meal plan flex points), Burger King, Starbucks…… It reminds me of the HBO Weeds theme song “Little Boxes”…if you have seen the show you’ll know what I mean.

So far mixed use hasn’t worked for downtown South Bend, slow go in Mishawaka (its new mixed use plan is an excellent master plan….EXCELLENT, far superior to ESC), and of course University Park Mall is just a place to shop, not live. Michiana has too much land and not much of a need for stacking everything into an “urban” mixed use area which hasn’t taken off here, for good reasons. When you look at ESC from a bird’s eye view, there is open land and 1-2 story homes all around it. Hardly something that gels into such a dense development.

I wish ESC luck…but you have to ask yourself, if it was such a great idea, why didn’t ND just build it with its own money instead of using other people’s money, huge tax breaks with $36 MILLION in bonds and a new tax increment financing district??? Afterall, Notre Dame has a $5 BILLION (+/-) endowment, with sooo much money to invest, why not invest it in Eddy Street Commons? Perhaps it isn’t such a great investment even with the taxpayer subsidies…


Irish Eyes November 6, 2009 at 11:38 pm

If they build it, will they come? They got the loan money so they built quite a bit of it. As predicted, a ten year+ project from start to finish.

Surprising if ND is buying 9 townhomes, errr I mean cityhomes, I’m sure that helps the builder of that part of the project (Highline Construction). Now I’m curious which cityhomes ND is buying…are they the ones that line Edison…the ones with the best views. What will they use them for? Visiting professor housing? High-roller donor schmoozing housing for gamedays? Is this an effort to control the most visible cityhomes for some reason (so no USC fans buy them! LOL)? ND has done stranger things (just ask the people in the Opus Dei house on ND Ave – at least the OD founder has been canonized a saint, unlike CSC, but who’s counting? Just be sure to block OD from buying more property around ND Ave). It does look like that first block of cityhomes in the photo that border Edison = 9 units.

For decades, undergrad students have complained about the lack of a college town….now that it is being built, it isn’t for them! Almost too funny at the irony. But sad really. As an alum I am perplexed…but then again a lot of alums are perplexed by a lot of things the ND admin has done over the last 10 years and more so the last 5 with the complete takeover of ND, Inc. And of course, no bowling alley. The one thing undergrads have asked for…but they are not very profitable especially if for such occasional use. ESC just isn’t really for the under 21 crowd that much. If you think about it, that is pretty bizarre. Somehow I think the undergrads will be excited at first…blinded by the new construction…then realize nothing much has changed for them. Then back to beer pong at your friend’s off-campus house.


Twiana November 7, 2009 at 11:43 am

You know eddy street commons is nice and all, but what amazes me is that I live right off eddy right on Bissell street and everything before you get to eddy street commons is a HOT MESS!! how is that? what about fixing up the rest of that area?


Irish Eyes November 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm

From the photo of the top of the parking garage, it looks like the electrician and HVAC guy didn’t get a chance to install their stuff before the brick went up…..what is with all of the external conduits and pipes? I thought they were supposed to be using union guys for this?


Outside the Box November 9, 2009 at 1:11 pm

The sign across the street from Chipotle appears to show that 27 townhouses have sold.

Irish Eyes I have to admit I am negative and you make me seem like Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick. Eddy Commons will be fine. I was just over there last night and 5 Guys/Chipotle were full of customers (all other stores were closed for the evening). No small town stores can afford to open in Eddy Commons because of the sky high rent, but life will go on.

Regarding the “hot mess” south of Eddy Commons, that is the responsbility of the residents to clean up. South Bend would be a ghost town but for Notre Dame and we cannot expect it to do everything. Once it does get cleaned up, the next complaint will be that it is unaffordable. This reminds me of the person I heard call in on CSPAN Saturday night while congress voted on the health care bill. She could not afford the $5,000 in annual health insurance cost and not she cannot afford the $50,000 in health bills she must pay. Once she was diagnosed with diabetes, she wanted to go on health insurance and the insurance company denied her because she had not been on health insurance all along. The thing people miss about the example above is that 9 other people must be paying $5,000 and have no huge claims in order to cover the one person’s $50,000 claim.


Outside the Box November 9, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Also, it looks like students are allowed to live in Eddy Commons based on this article from The Observer in August. The article mentions that the apartments were 70-75% rented in August, which is awesome performance so early on.



Irish Eyes November 9, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Outside the Box, read inside the article.

“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.”
– Gregory Hakanen, director of Asset Management and Real Estate at the University

Also, don’t mistake truthful bluntness with negativity. If you only knew what really goes on behind the scenes at ND, then you’d truly be very very negative. Unfortunately, I do know, but fortunately, am not negative….a little jaded yes since the curtain has been pulled away, but be careful if you intend to put your faith in ND, just look what they did to Lou Holtz. Ouch.


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