A Kansas City-based sports bar and grill has signed on to be the anchor tenant for a new shopping area at the southeast corner of 15th Street and Wakarusa Drive.
Tanner's Bar & Grill will open in the new 19,000-square-foot shopping area, said Pat Talbott, a leasing agent for the development. He said construction on the development would begin this week.
In addition to the sports bar, the shopping area will include Subway, Bella Salon and Day Spa, AKA Karate, Linda's Liquor and a tanning salon, Talbott said.
"We're building it to be a real neighborhood center," Talbott said. "We're looking for tenants that will serve the families and the office workers out in that area."
Talbott said development officials were pleased to land Tanner's, which has a strong following in the Johnson County area. The business has eight locations, with seven in the Kansas City metro area and one in Wichita.
"We think it makes a lot of sense because many of the KU students who come from Johnson County already will be familiar with the name and the atmosphere," Talbott said.
The ownership of the restaurant and bar also will provide the development a twist. Former Kansas University football coach Tom Hayes will own the business. Hayes was interim head football coach for the Jayhawks for three games after Terry Allen was fired during the 2001 season.
Hayes confirmed he would own the business but said he wasn't ready to discuss his plans for the restaurant and bar. He declined to give an estimated opening date for Tanner's.
Talbott said the shopping area itself, which will be just south of the Commerce Bank building, could be completed within six months.
The 19,000-square-foot center is the first phase of retail development for the corner. Leasing for phase one is going well, said Talbott, who is part of the Lenexa-based Jayhawk Equities development company. He said all but 1,400 square feet of the project had been leased.
Talbott said the development company, Wakarusa Equities, planned to build another 20,000 square feet of retail space as soon as tenants could be found for the project. That portion of the project would be just east of the Commerce Bank building.
"It is going well because we believe it is one of the better intersections in west Lawrence," Talbott said. "It is a relatively affluent area with good demographics and it is the only tract of ground on Wakarusa between Sixth Street and Clinton Parkway that is zoned retail."