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Archive for Sunday, April 1, 1990

LAWRENCE SAW BUSINESS MOVES, EXPANSIONS ALL OVER TOWN

April 1, 1990

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While much of the city's attention has been focused on building the Lawrence Riverfront Plaza, business activity has flourished in other parts of Lawrence as well.

During the last 12 months, the city has seen growth in both the manufacturing and retail sectors.

For example, during the last month Lawrence's downtown has seen two significant developments.

The Douglas County Bank broke ground for a $4 million facility that will take the place of its main bank building on Ninth Street between Kentucky and Tennessee streets.

Construction will be done in phases, with the project expected to be completed in August of 1991.

Another notable addition to the downtown is a new outlet for antique vendors, the Antique Mall, 830 Mass.

The business, which features 36 vendors, has helped to revitalize the downtown's 800 block by providing a use for the 25,000-square-foot space that formerly housed Litwin's and JC Penney. The space had been vacant for about 1 years.

Officials with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Lawrence organization say the Antique Mall has the potential of bringing in more out-of-town shoppers to the city's central business district.

Another downtown move put a new tenant, The Buckle, a clothing store, into the building at 805 Mass. It had been occupied for more than 25 years by Ben Franklin.

RETAIL GROWTH has sprouted in other parts of the city as well, thanks to about 150,000 square feet of strip shopping space that has opened up in the last year, according to Lawrence Chamber of Commerce estimates.

Among the major new neighborhood shopping centers have been the second phase of Orchards Corner, 15th and Kasold, and also Park Plaza, 27th and Iowa streets.

A Lawrence furniture and appliance business, Ed Marlings, is preparing to move from the Southern Hills Shopping Center on 23rd Street into the former Dillon's grocery store at 27th and Iowa.

Dillon's also made a major change this year, opening a new super store at 23rd and Naismith. The store, with 55,000 square feet, occupies the remodeled spaces that formerly housed a Krogers supermarket and a SupuRx drug store.

The city also saw growth in manufacturing in the last year.

The East Hills Business Park, located off Kansas Highway 10 east of the city limits this year, has attracted two new businesses.

Garage Door Group, a garage door components manufacturer formerly located in Kansas City, Kan., completed a $2.5 million plant in the fall and opened for business in December.

Kinedyne, a New Jersey-based company that recently bought Aeroquip Corp.'s cargo tie-down line, has decided to build a plant in the East Hills park. Kinedyne plans to construct a 47,000-square-foot in the park, which will keep 60 jobs in the city.

OTHER PROJECTS around town were the Merck Corp.'s $3 million INTERx office building on Kansas University's west campus and Standard Liquor Corp.'s distribution plant in the Timberedge Industrial Park in Northwest Lawrence.

Davol Inc., a local medical supplies company, has started working on a $4 million remodeling and expansion at the old Lehigh Color Press building on Haskell Avenue.

In the Oread West Research Park, a ground-breaking was held in January for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's new $4 million headquarters, which will overlook an 18-hole championship golf course. Construction on both projects is expected to begin this year.

In other local business developments, Hall-Kimbrell Environmental Services was acquired by Professional Services Industries Inc., Chicago, for an undisclosed amount. Although there were some layoffs because of the acquisition, PSI officials indicated that more jobs may be created in Lawrence if PSI locates more research facilities in Lawrence in the future.

One of the long-time local employees, Hallmark Cards, quietly expanded its workforce over the year, boosting the number of employees from 850 to 1,000 during the year. The company, which has been in Lawrence for 32 years, was able to increase its workforce because of growth in the "social expression industry" last year, said John Hastings, plant manager.

SEVERAL businesses with national ties in the area said they're expecting another good year.

Bill Russell, vice president and general manager of Lawrence Technology, 2400 Packer Rd., said his business is closely connected to the petroleum industry.

The company, which employs about 120 people, makes oil well cables, high temperature manual wire for high temperature motors. It also manufactures molded rubber parts in its North Lawrence factory, on North First Street.

"Business has improved because of the oil prices are up," Russell said. "Also we have received a number of international orders."

Edward Cunningham, employee and community relations manager for Quaker Oats, 727 N. Iowa, said that during the last 12 years, Quaker has worked to produce high quality products and maintain a good employee safety record.

"Quaker has been a pioneer in bringing the mentally handicapped employee to the manufacturing worksite for special promotions projects," Cunningham said.

"We have high expectations for the future of Lawrence and our plant and we have demonstrated this confidence by significant petfood expansion and new product introduction," he said.

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