Dillon Food Stores has taken an early lead in the race to open a new supermarket on the city's northwest side.
Earth moving and concrete work have begun at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive, where Dillons is building its fourth Lawrence store. A spokesman for the Hutchinson-based company said Friday the store still was on track to open late this fall.
Hy-Vee Inc., meanwhile, has yet to begin construction on the new 66,000-square-foot supermarket it's planning about a mile east on West Sixth Street. Both stores were announced late last year. Neither company knew of the other's plans.
Dillons is building a 48,000-square-foot store at the southeast corner of Sixth and Wakarusa, an area quickly filling up with a variety of new retail and office projects. The subdivision including Dillons is planned to include more than 200,000 square feet of commercial space when fully developed.
Dennis Gaschler, Dillons spokesman, said the company's new store would be "a standard Dillons," including a drive-through pharmacy, floral shop, video rental and one-hour photo service.
General contractor on the project is McPherson Contractors Inc. of Topeka.
Gaschler discounted persistent rumors that his company planned to shut its store at 1740 Mass. when the new store opened.
"Absolutely not," he said. "There are no plans to close that store. It's a very important store in that part of town, and we're going to continue to operate it."
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