American Eagle Outfitters won't be shipping clothes out of its new Lawrence distribution center next spring as expected.
Construction of the center has been delayed at least 90 days, said Debi Moore, director of economic development for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. Construction should begin in September and be finished sometime next summer.
"I have not gotten any indication from the company that they're not going to do the project," said Moore, who spoke recently with Michael Fostyk, the company's vice president for distribution allocation and store planning. "They're just delayed a couple months."
In March, Fostyk announced plans for a new $45 million warehouse and distribution center in the East Hills Business Park. The 402,000-square-foot project would have 250 employees.
At the time, the company wanted to break ground in April and be fully operational by March 2001. Later, as public opposition grew to a proposed tax abatement and the company's location on prime farm land, Fostyk said company officials had built "a lot of cushion in our construction schedule."
Apparently it wasn't enough.
Recent design changes ultimately scuttled hopes of finishing on time, Moore said. While the building changes weren't substantial Moore mentioned changes in the color of the roof and glass they did require new bid packages to be sent to subcontractors.
"It's just taken more time than they thought it would take," Moore said.
Attempts to contact American Eagle representatives Tuesday evening were unsuccessful.