The directors of Downtown Lawrence voted today to make a formal endorsement of plans for the proposed Tanger Factory Outlet Center, which would be built on a 12.11-acre site in North Lawrence.
In a statement issued after a board meeting this morning, the Downtown Lawrence board said the factory outlet center, which would be the city's second, would be a catalyst for improvements to the North Second Street corridor.
Stanley Tanger & Co., a North Carolina-based developer, plans to build a 150,000-square-foot outlet center across the street from the East Lawrence interchange on the Kansas Turnpike. Consolidated Lumber Co., 1013 N. Third, currently is located on the site.
THE NORTH Lawrence Improvement Assn. also has endorsed the project as having the potential to spur improvements to North Second and North Third streets. Those streets, which form the eastern entrance to the city, are considered by some people to be blighted.
Earl Reineman, president of Downtown Lawrence, said the board wanted to go on record with an endorsement to clear up any confusion over the organization's position.
"Initially, we expressed some concerns and offered some suggestions which we believed would help the project reach its most positive potential for the community, for North Lawrence and for downtown," the Downtown Lawrence statement said. "We believe those concerns and suggestions have been heard and addressed by the planning commission and by Tanger representatives."
REINEMAN SAID meetings between Tanger and downtown representatives resolved concerns that the proposed outlet center would have a detrimental effect on the Lawrence Riverfront Plaza Factory Outlets shops and downtown. Tanger has agreed to participate in joint marketing efforts, Reineman said.
He said Downtown Lawrence's concerns about the aesthetics of the project and potential impacts on North Lawrence were addressed by the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission last month when it asked Tanger to pursue planned commercial district status for the site rather than uniform commercial zoning.
Reineman said placing the project within such a district would give the planning commission tighter control over the development.