Archive for Tuesday, October 22, 2002

West Lawrence project gains restaurant, secures tenants

October 22, 2002


West Lawrence residents have an Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar in their neighborhood and soon will have a new liquor store, dry cleaner and barber shop.

Applebee's officials opened the new restaurant Monday near the intersection of Sixth Street and Monterey Way. The restaurant, which is located in the parking lot of the Hy-Vee Food and Drug Store, is the company's second in Lawrence. The other store is located along Iowa Street in southern Lawrence.

"The main reason we decided to open another store is all the growth we're seeing out here," said Brian Clyne, general manager for the restaurant. "They noticed at our other restaurant that they were getting a lot of people from this side of town, so we thought it was probably time."

The restaurant, which employs about 100 people, is nearly identical to the Applebee's on South Iowa Street. One difference is the company has devoted one wall in the restaurant for a historical display of author Langston Hughes.

The Overland Park-based company chose Hughes, a native of Lawrence, as the restaurant's "hometown hero." The wall includes about 20 photographs of Hughes and Lawrence, supplied by the Watkins Community Museum of History.

The restaurant also incorporates a new drive-up concept the company is testing. The restaurant's parking lot includes new designated curbside delivery spots. Customers call their order in ahead of time and park in one of the designated spots, and an Applebee's employee will deliver the food to the car.

Work also continues on an 11-shop retail area that is being constructed in the Hy-Vee parking lot. Bob Johnson with Kansas City, Mo.-based R.H. Johnson Co. said he's signed three companies to locate in the center.

He said he had leases for a new 5,000 square-foot Alvin's Liquor Store, a 1,400 square-foot Pride Cleaners and a 1,400 square-foot Supercuts. The location will be an expansion for all three companies, which currently operate stores in Lawrence.

"We're getting some good interest from retailers who want a second location in Lawrence, but we'll also have a lot of tenants that will be new retailers to the market," Johnson said.

Johnson said consumers probably should expect a couple of smaller restaurants to locate in the center along with other businesses that will complement the services Hy-Vee provides.

He said work on the 23,000 square-foot building should be complete by the end of the year, allowing shops to open in early 2003.

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