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Archive for Tuesday, September 21, 1999

DILLONS FEEDS ON NORTHWEST GROWTH

September 21, 1999

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Coming soon to the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive: Kwik Shop and Simply Wireless, a dealer for Aerial Communications and Nextel.

The opening of Lawrence's newest grocery store is less than a month away, and a new convenience store and wireless communications shop will soon follow in the fast-growing area.

Construction of a new Dillons at the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive is about 95 percent complete, said Ed Mosher, project superintendent for McPherson Contractors Inc., general contractor.

He said the store would open Oct. 15 -- months in front of Hy-Vee Inc., which recently started construction of an even larger store a mile down the street.

At stake: The shopping habits for a developing area with dozens of new businesses and hundreds of new homes.

"We were going to race 'em, and we had to beat 'em," said Mosher, whose crews and subcontractors have been working seven days a week since late March. "We're ahead."

The new Dillons, at 4701 W. Sixth, will cover 48,055 square feet and have room to add another 14,796 square feet next door. The parking lot has about 325 spaces.

Dillons officials have described the new store as a "standard" Dillons, with a drive-through pharmacy, floral shop, video rental and one-hour photo service.

A new 3,500-square-foot Kwik Shop also is planned at the corner, slightly north and west of the Dillons, said Duane Schwada, a partner for Westgate L.L.C., developer for the Westgate Center. Construction should begin within a few weeks.

Simply Wireless, a dealer for Aerial Communications and Nextel, plans to open in November inside an existing 1,400 square feet between Blockbuster Video and Pizza Hut, which opened there earlier this week. A Gregg Tire and Arby's already are open.

Still in the works: Construction of another 30,000-square-foot strip for more small shops. Work is set to begin in 30 days. There's also room for another 35,000 square feet for a "major tenant" west of Dillons, Schwada said. He declined to identify it.

The resulting traffic is appealing to store owners.

"We'll pick up a lot of the higher-end customers in Lawrence," said Derek Osborn, co-owner of Simply Wireless, which currently has operations on Massachusetts Street and in Ottawa. "Within three years it's supposed to be the busiest interestion in Lawrence."

About a mile to the east, Hy-Vee is working on a new 66,000-square-foot store at the northwest corner of Sixth and Monterey Way. A 25,000-square-foot "upscale shopping center" will be built next door, with national, regional and local retailers among its possible tenants, said Scott Taubin of R.H. Johnson Co., the center's developer.

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is mfagan@ljworld.com.

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