WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

LMH gets record-breaking donation to help build new outpatient medical center

A Kansas City foundation is providing a $2 million grant to help Lawrence Memorial Hospital build a major outpatient medical center in west Lawrence. The Sunderland Foundation of Kansas City is giving $2 million to the LMH Health Foundation to be used in the construction of an approximately $100 million outpatient medical center project near Rock Chalk Park in northwest Lawrence. The gift from the Sunderland ...

Another retailer leaving 23rd Street to head to south Iowa Street

I don’t know what you think you saw when I got off the elliptical machine, but I wasn’t so woozy that I needed a bed to lie down on. But in case it ever does get to that point, some of you may be in luck. You’ve been asking what new retailer is going next to the Planet Fitness location on south Iowa Street, and I now can report that it is a mattress store. The folks at Mattress Hub confirmed they are ...

Despite all the empty seats, KU says football ticket sales were up in 2018

Despite the frequent sight of empty seats on a Saturday at Memorial Stadium, University of Kansas officials are now saying they actually saw an increase in football ticket sales during the 2018 season. KU sold $3.98 million worth of football tickets during the last season, which saw the Jayhawks go 3-9 and culminated with the firing of head coach David Beaty. That $3.98 million figure is up from $3.41 million ...

KU claims it has $1.5 million in new Adidas money, but when asked to point to it on financial statements, it won't

Kansas Athletics is refusing to release information about its 2018 financial statements as questions persist about KU’s dealings with apparel provider Adidas, which is embroiled in a pay-for-play college basketball scheme. Since early December, the nonprofit corporation Kansas Athletics has released two sets of financial reports detailing the 2018 fiscal year. Both reports — its official audited financial ...

With apartment construction booming nearby, LMH decides to open medical office on south Iowa Street

A Pier 1 wicker chair has been known to create its share of medical issues. (Take your after-dinner nap in a wicker chair at your own risk.) So, maybe it isn’t such an odd twist that the former Pier 1 retail building on south Iowa Street is set to become a doctor’s office. Leaders with LMH Health have confirmed they’ve finalized a lease that will allow the hospital to put a primary care physician’s ...

Plans for soccer complex on eastern edge of Lawrence moving forward again

Basketball may be king in Lawrence, but soon soccer may be the first sport you see coming into town. Plans for a new soccer complex along the South Lawrence Trafficway east of Lawrence are moving forward again. I reported in 2016 on plans to convert a farm field just west of the water ski lake along Kansas Highway 10 into a soccer complex that would include five full fields. Then the project never ...

What's all the construction at the retail site by Rock Chalk Park? Despite hopes, it's not a Costco

If I had a dollar for every time there was a rumor that Costco was coming to Lawrence, I would have about $12, which would put me more than halfway to my new life goal of buying Costco’s recently introduced 7-pound tub of Nutella. The rumors almost always involve the superstore retailer locating in the undeveloped Mercato shopping center next to Rock Chalk Park in northwest Lawrence. Those rumors have ...

New report says local retail vacancy rates improve some, but still higher than in KC; office vacancy soars

The amount of vacant retail space in Lawrence continues to be above the U.S. and Kansas City averages, and now the amount of vacant office space in town also has soared, according to a new report. The Lawrence branch of the Colliers International commercial real estate firm has released its 2018 report measuring a variety of vacancy rates in Lawrence. There was some good news on the retail front, as vacancy ...

A pair of restaurant closings and word of a possible corporate expansion in Lawrence

Things have gotten a little rocky on both the Italian and Mexican fronts, and it doesn’t even have anything to do with a presidential tweet. Instead, I’m talking about the closing of a longtime Italian eatery in downtown and a Mexican restaurant in west Lawrence. Both Genovese and Tortas Jalisco have announced their closings in recent days. Genovese was at 941 Massachusetts St., and Tortas Jalisco was at ...

Longtime owners of Asian restaurant open noodle shop in downtown Lawrence

I’ve always been skeptical of Chinese street food. (Walking and chewing gum is difficult; walking and using chopsticks can lead to an unwanted body piercing.) But a new downtown restaurant is open that has some Chinese street food on the menu, and it aims to create a fusion of Chinese, Japanese and other east Asian flavors. Ondori opened late last month at 1008 Massachusetts St., and chances are you already ...

Lawrence's Kmart distribution center still has hope, thanks to latest twist in bankruptcy case

Kmart — and its approximately 300 local jobs — is still kicking. Sears Holdings Corp., which is the parent company for both Sears and Kmart, agreed Tuesday to consider a revised takeover bid that would stave off a complete shutdown of Sears and Kmart stores across the country. The mega bankruptcy case has major Lawrence implications because Kmart operates a Lawrence distribution center that historically ...

Downtown retailer that featured local handmade goods closes; big day for future of Lawrence's Kmart distribution center

I don’t think anybody has ever wanted to buy anything I’ve made, unless you can count the neighbors who have offered to pay me to remove some of the creations out of my yard. But plenty of handy people in Lawrence do sell their creations, and they're losing a place to market their wares in downtown Lawrence. The unique shop Made, at 737 Massachusetts St., has closed its doors after about seven years in ...

Wrap, taco shop featuring fresh ingredients signs deal to locate in west Lawrence

I know Johnson County SUVs that have a freezer and a deep-fat fryer, but there soon will be a Johnson County-based restaurant chain opening in Lawrence that brags about having neither. Twisted Fresh has signed a deal to locate in the shopping center at the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. As the name implies, fresh food is a hallmark of the menu. More specifically, wraps, tacos and a ...

Retail sales hit $1.6 billion during 2018 in Lawrence, but spending was still sluggish

Now that the calendar has flipped to 2019, we can talk about this $1.6 billion that you’ve spent. While that sounds similar to the lecture I get regarding my New Years Eve charcuterie plate (chocolate-covered almonds are expensive), I’m actually talking about retail spending in all of Lawrence. The year-end numbers are out, and Lawrence consumers topped the $1.6 billion mark in 2018. While that may sound ...

A look at the top local stories of 2018

Maybe you want to remember 2018. Maybe you don’t. It has been that type of year, as our list of the top local stories of 2018 confirms. There have been leadership shakeups — some with retirement cards, some with pink slips. There have been murders and the trials that come with them, complete with twists and turns. There have been historic budget cuts at KU, and the trepidation that the 2019 budget-cutting ...

2018 sets record for most building construction in Lawrence; a look at the 15 largest projects of the year

Everything from high schools to hospitals has added up to a record-setting total of $260 million worth of new construction projects in Lawrence in 2018. It is a new record that is certain to grow. The latest report from Lawrence City Hall only tracks building permits that have been issued through the end of November. When the city adds on December building permit totals next month, the Lawrence construction ...

LMH expected to hit $1B mark in 2019, but finances are tightening for the hospital

Lawrence Memorial Hospital is projected to become a billion-dollar entity for the first time in 2019, but despite the massive revenues, leaders are dealing with a tightening financial picture. The 2019 budget approved by the board of LMH Health last week shows the nonprofit health system continues to take in far more revenue than it has in expenses, but a tight labor market and more aggressive contracts with ...

Smoothie franchise set to open on south Iowa Street

I may get a lump of coal in my stocking (maybe that is what people mean when they say coal is making a comeback), but at least I soon could have a Blimey Limey in my stomach. South Iowa Street soon will be home to a new smoothie franchise that will feature all types of island concoctions. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is opening its first Lawrence location at 27th and Iowa streets in the shopping center that includes ...

As boardwalk project along the Kaw seeks approval, familiar question arises: How tall should the buildings be?

Downtown Lawrence doesn’t get to have all the fun when it comes to arguing over how tall buildings ought to be. It looks like North Lawrence will get in on the action too. If you remember, we reported last month about a proposed major development in North Lawrence along the Kansas River on property surrounding the iconic Johnny’s Tavern building. The development definitely would bring the idea of taller, ...

We may be top-ranked in basketball, but this report says we're quite a bit lower on list of college towns

According to the pollsters in college basketball, we can legitimately chant, “We’re No. 1!” In the broader world of college towns, add two zeros to that number, and you’ll be right on target. Yes, there is a new report out that ranks Lawrence No. 100 among small college towns in the U.S. You are right, that doesn’t sound as good in a chant, especially when you consider there were only 200 towns ...