Plans to build apartments for students over Binghamton’s Downtown bar, the Rathskeller Pub, were approved last week, and building will begin shortly.
Andrew Urso, owner of Rathskeller Pub, proposed this plan in November 2010 and received confirmation of this project Monday, Feb. 7 from the City Planning Commission. According to Urso, construction will begin once building permits are obtained.
The apartments will be built in the three floors above The Rat at 92 State St. and JT’s Tavern and Pasquale’s Pizza at 98 State St., which is also owned by Urso. Each unit will have seven to eight loft-style bedrooms with exposed brick and hardwood floors, an open kitchen, living room and two to three bathrooms, Urso said.
“We are targeting Binghamton University students,” Urso added. The size and location of the units cater to the local student population.
But some BU students, the target population for the new apartments, are concerned with the noise.
According to Therese Dompor, a sophomore double-majoring in economics and philosophy, politics and law, who plans to move into a house Downtown next semester, said she would not live in apartments above The Rat.
“I would not want to live right above the bars, I think the noise would be a problem,” she said. “I like to separate the night scene from a place where I can relax and study.”
Despite this concern, Urso does not think noise is a problem.
Mathew Doong, a sophomore majoring in sociology, said noise could be a problem if he lived in that area.
“It would be nice to be so close to the bars on weekends, but during the weekdays you would never have time to work in peace and quiet,” Doong said.
According to a report from the Press & Sun-Bulletin, the planning commission requires Urso to repair the north wall of the building before starting construction on the apartments. The bar owner must also clean up the alleyway on the building’s east side.
Urso is currently facing charges in obstructing governmental administration and reckless endangerment in the second degree for allegedly telling a DJ to announce there was a fire in the bar after learning officers were on their way to check for underage drinkers.
Urso said the charges were not brought up in planning this project.
“The safety of the residents will definitely be ensured, and all buildings will be done up to code,” he said.
The mayor’s office declined to comment on this project and the planning commission did not respond to phone calls.