The Other Businesses On Bryn Mawr

While sympathetic to the business owners involved in the eminent domain lawsuit, the businesses surrounding the Bryn Mawr block are cautiously optimistic about having student residence halls just a few blocks away.

Eminent domain provides the right for the government or an agent of the government (in this case NEIU, a public university) to take private property (i.e., the businesses on the block of 3401 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) and to convert it to public use, provided the owners be given compensation.

“There are a number of challenges, along with some potential.” said a representative from the Hollywood-North Park Community Association. The objective of the association is to protect and advance the mutual interest of property owners, residents and/or business establishments in the North Park area, according to their website. The association could not be reached for further comment.

The number of students to potentially live in the halls is estimated at around 400. With so many potential new customers, many owners of restaurants and shops a few blocks east on Bryn Mawr Avenue feel that their businesses will only improve when their new neighbors move in.

“It’s good for business,” said Kevin Nguyen, the manager of Outdoor Café. “It will bring in more traffic and more customers. As long as they don’t take the whole block.”

As of yet, there are no plans to extend the construction past the 3400 block of Bryn Mawr Avenue.

Outdoor Café is a small coffee shop that NEIU students already frequent because it’s “pretty inexpensive” and is “open later than most cafés for studying,” said Monica E, a student at NEIU.

“It’s good to have students come here,” said Lee Choonja, manager of Korean BBQ, across the street from the café.

There are several other coffee shops, pizza parlors, taquerias and Pan-Asian restaurants just two blocks east of where the residence halls will be built to offer variety for late night study sessions and even a marketplace for everyday meals.

The Bryn Mawr Fresh Market is small but would offer students more options than lattes and pizza. Two representatives from the market said, “It’s unfortunate for the businesses affected and you never know, it could extend here but it might help [the marketplace] in the long run. Students could come here.”

Another representative said, “We don’t want out names in the paper because the neighbors will see.”

Robert Pina, owner of Midori Japanese Restaurant, is hesitant. While he does not mind the building of residence halls, he is unsure whether his business will improve. “We have a lot of customers from Northeastern, but most of them are teachers.

“I have no clue,” he continued. “It might help, but I don’t think it will.”

While the process of eminent domain and construction on the Bryn Mawr block will still take some time, business owners can begin to see more foot traffic when student housing