by ALLISON LECAIN
As rent in Old Town goes up and the number of music venues goes down, there’s one thing people can count on – Hodi’s Half Note is here to stay.
On September 25 Hodi’s owner Dan Mladenik signed the papers to purchase the building for $1.3 million that Hodi’s had been renting for seven years. Mladenik became the sole owner of the business when he bought out the former owners last year. With this purchase, he owns the whole lot, which includes the basement, first floor, and second floor.
“My rent was increasing eight percent every year,” Mladenik said. “It was basically get this locked in or wait out my lease, which was another eight years. It would have gotten to the point where I couldn’t even afford to be here. I’d have to move out of Old Town and go somewhere else.”
As he said, it was “do or die time.” With a large loan from a bank, Mladenik now has the power to control what happens to the building and control his rent.
“It’s better than flushing money down the toilet every month,” Mladenik said. “This month will be the first month that I actually write a check for a mortgage instead of rent.”
While the basement is truly just a cellar that can be used for storage space, his plans for the upstairs level are uncertain. Mladenik’s ideal situation would be to knock down the upstairs and put in a rooftop patio called Hodi’s Topside.
Hodi’s Half Note would remain closed during the day and open at 8 p.m. for concerts, while Hodi’s Topside would be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Currently the only food Hodi’s serves is microwavable burritos, as they have to by law in order to sell alcohol, but the patio would ideally have pizza.
Mladenik said he wants to make Topside a place people could hang out all day, complete with booze, pizza, cigarettes, and TVs.
“There’s a minor structural problem with the floor upstairs that would be costly to fix, so I’d have to rip the floor up and put in bathrooms and staircases,” Mladenik said. “It’s a pretty involved project for a couple years down the road.”
On the flip side, Mladenik is waiting a few months to see if any investors want to do something with the top floor, such as build offices or lofts. The top floor has been abandoned for years and would need some work.
With whatever Mladenik decides to do with the building, he said Hodi’s will be here for the next 20 to 30 years. In the meantime, he would like to put in air conditioning and make a few cosmetic changes.
“I’ve locked in my mortgage and locked in a spot for Hodi’s,” he said.