WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

Bar and grill with Italian twist opens in downtown spot that housed Genovese

Regrettably, the new 1856 Bar & Grill in downtown Lawrence isn’t an excuse for me to wear my spurs and other fancy western attire after all. The place — located in the former home of the Italian restaurant Genovese — isn’t some sort of themed restaurant. But for fans of the former Genovese, 941 Massachusetts St., it is still a place to get some of that restaurant’s top Italian dishes. (But no, ...

Lawrence housing prices jump by more than 13 percent in 2018; buyers show signs of pulling back

The new number in the Lawrence housing market is $200,000. While Lawrence housing prices have been causing people to wring their hands for years, statistically speaking, the odds were in your favor of finding a home in town for well below $200,000. A new report shows a dramatic increase in home prices has changed that. Lawrence housing prices in 2018 grew at their fastest rate in recent memory, and the median ...

Report says Kansas stacking up public debt; Douglas County debt totals soar over last decade

I’m sure glad my household doesn’t measure debt levels on a per capita basis. (If it did, the obvious solution would be to have another child.) The state of Kansas, though, does measure its debt on a per capita basis, and the state’s new treasurer is waving a red flag that Kansas may have a problem in that area. Kansas had statewide debt of $1,554 per person in 2018, which was by far the highest amount ...

New nonprofit forms to boost startup tech companies; Castle Tea Room could be training center

The Castle Tea Room has long hosted odd things. (I still don’t know what I’m supposed to use that tiny fork for.) Soon, though, it may host a whole new type of oddity — aspiring technology entrepreneurs. A new nonprofit called Launch Lawrence has formed and announced a goal of raising $250,000 to locate a training center for technology entrepreneurs inside the historic Castle Tea Room at 1307 ...

3 finalists for United Way of Douglas County CEO position to meet the public next week

The public will get a chance next week to meet the three finalists to become the chief executive officer of the United Way of Douglas County. Peggy Johnson, co-chair of the CEO search committee, said the three finalists would give presentations and take questions from members of the public, in addition to meeting with United Way staff and participating in closed-door interviews with the United Way executive ...

Multistory apartment and retail building planned for 23rd Street; shopping center to be razed

Lots of people live a block or two off 23rd Street. But not that many people actually live right along it (unless you count that extended stay at Wendy’s when Frosties were a dollar.) But plans have been filed for a new development that may change that trend. An out-of-town development group has filed plans to tear down the shopping center that includes Party America, Copy Co., UNI Computers and others, and ...

QuikTrip files plans to build second store in Lawrence

Gear up for a gasoline battle. QuikTrip has filed plans to build a second store in Lawrence. The Tulsa-based convenience store chain has struck a deal to buy the Zarco convenience store at Ninth and Iowa streets. Plans filed at City Hall show QuikTrip would undertake a major redevelopment of the site. It would tear down the existing convenience store, plus a car wash building to the east and a vacant ...

Vintage toys and a wee bit of taxidermy coming to Massachusetts Street

When you are 45 years old and have been collecting toys all your life, at some point you have to decide to do something out of the ordinary. For Terry Taylor, that means opening a vintage toy shop on Massachusetts Street. And just for good measure, the store will dabble in a bit of small-scale taxidermy as well. What in the heck am I talking about? The new shop will be called 1313 Mockingbird Lane, which ...

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 ...