Business owners near UE are excited about the arrival of new student housing.

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – After unveiling a new dorm this August, the University of Evansville is setting its sights on new student apartments.

For small business owners, foot traffic and accessibility are everything.

People in the door mean items sold, and for people like Sarah Rhoades, owner of Sweets at the University of Evansville, “people” often means students.

“I’d say about a quarter of our customers are university students and faculty,” says Rhodes.

Annie and Matt Fitzpatrick, owners of Bluestocking Social, a couple doors down from the candy factory, are the same.

“We’ve got a good mix. We had more students this year than in the past,” says Annie.

Every business is excited about the new functionality of the University of Evansville Housing Plan.

They are now in Phase II, which includes building the new “Lincoln Commons” at the corner of Lincoln and Weinbach Avenues.

The building accommodates over 100 students in single, double and quadruple apartments.

Rhoades says that placing children right at their door can be beneficial for each of them.

“We get a lot of students walking, walking, Saturdays are really fun when they’re rushing around and all the kids are walking around and then they’re stopping at the stores,” Rhodes said. Having another hundred or more people living so close together certainly helps our little shop in this tough economy.

The complex will not only house more than 100 students, but the first phase of the building will have 35 hundred square feet of retail space.

Not to mention, a 96-space parking lot will be built, hopefully helping to solve a problem the businesses say has been there for a long time.

“Many people who come here complain about the parking. “There’s only a few spaces out front,” says Matt, adding, “I wish there was something else…I can see a large parking lot being a draw.”

For the businesses in the area, Rhodes says she wants more interaction between them and the campus, and she and all the businesses around her are excited to be able to showcase the students in this new housing development. You always have access.

“You know, everything that makes something small and local special,” Rhodes said.

Several buildings on campus will be demolished to make way for Lincoln Commons, including the University Apartments, Ramona Apartments, one of the Hazard apartment buildings and the former Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house, according to the university’s website.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for February, and is expected to be completed before the start of the fall 2024 semester.

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