A statewide liquor distributor said Tuesday he's trying to decide whether to build a new warehouse operation in Lawrence.
Tom Lorson, president of Famous Brands Distributors Inc., Topeka, said Lawrence is one of three cities his company is considering for a new $1.5 million, 60,000-square-foot warehouse.
The company, one of two statewide liquor distributors in Kansas, sent representatives to a Lawrence City Commission study session Monday on tax abatements. Lorson said the company would decide on the warehouse location after finding out what changes the city might make in its current policy.
"We're taking at look at it," he said. "It's a little premature for us to announce it."
LORSON SAID he plans to consolidate two warehouses currently operating in Topeka and Wichita and build a new facility that would serve the entire state. Lorson said he was considering Lawrence, Topeka and one other city for the new warehouse. He would not name the third city.
Lorson said his plans call for building a 60,000-square-foot warehouse, with roon for expansion. He said he has looked at several sites in Lawrence, including the East Hills Business Park.
If a Lawrence warehouse was constructed, plans call for bringing the supervisory personnel from the Topeka warehouse and one supervisor from Wichita, he said.
About 20 to 30 hourly employees would be hired to work in the warehouse, he said.
LORSON SAID that before making a decision, he wants to find out what the city will do with its property tax abatement policy. The commission is considering a proposal that would require businesses seeking abatements to sign a contract stating conditions they would meet to keep the abatement in place.
"We're interested in the policy of the commission and any tax incentives that the community of Lawrence might have available for new businesses locating there," Lorson said.
Lorson said he was hoping to get started on construction soon and move into the new facility in the late spring.
Lorson said his company was one of the first liquor distributors to go into business when Kansas went "wet" in 1949.
The only other statewide liquor distributor in Kansas is Standard Liquor Corp., Wichita. SLC built a 90,000-square-foot warehouse distribution center a year ago in northwest Lawrence in the Timberedge Industrial Park.