Advertisement

Archive for Saturday, August 19, 2006

City gateway taking shape

Plan calls for one big, several smaller shops

August 19, 2006

Advertisement

This rendering shows the Tuscan-style Italian architecture that developers plan to use for the corner of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway. The plan calls for one big box store and several smaller shops or restaurants and will be built in phases over several years.

This rendering shows the Tuscan-style Italian architecture that developers plan to use for the corner of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway. The plan calls for one big box store and several smaller shops or restaurants and will be built in phases over several years.

The new commercial area expected to be Lawrence's western gateway for years to come is beginning to take shape.

Developers who own 45 acres of commercially zoned property at the northeast corner of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway have filed their most detailed plans yet for a new shopping and office center that will accommodate at least one big box store and several smaller shops or restaurants.

"This is a true gateway to Lawrence that I think we're all going to be proud of," said Tim Fritzel, a Lawrence developer who is working with longtime Lawrence developers Duane Schwada and Steve Schwada to build the project. "I think this could end up being a real feather in our cap and a feather in the community's cap when it is all done."

The development - dubbed Mercado - will feature Tuscan-style Italian architecture for all 10 buildings proposed for the site.

The developers don't have tenants for the project, but likely will try to attract national or regional retailers that Lawrence residents currently drive to Topeka or Kansas City to find.

"It could be done in a way to provide Lawrence residents more opportunities to spend their money in town," Steve Schwada said.

Definite timelines for the project aren't in place. Duane Schwada said it could be a year before the first tenant for the site is found, and the plan calls for the development to be built in six phases over "several years."

Just how many new stores would be at the site also isn't fully determined. When city commissioners approved the commercial zoning for the property in May, they limited how much new retail development would be allowed there.

City commissioners set total retail space at 184,640 square feet, though the zoning allows for other types of commercial development such as banks and offices that would not be considered retail uses.

The plan the developers have submitted to the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Office proposed about 350,000 square feet of commercial space. The project is anchored by three large buildings - 175,000 square feet, 60,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet - in addition to seven smaller buildings ranging from 10,500 square feet to 4,000 square feet.

The area of land at the bottom left soon could be the site of a new shopping and office center that will accommodate at least one big box store and several smaller shops. The land is north of West Sixth Street to the east of the South Lawrence Trafficway. Sixth Street is in the middle of the photograph going from the east, at left, to the west. St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, 5700 W. Sixth St., is visible at left.

The area of land at the bottom left soon could be the site of a new shopping and office center that will accommodate at least one big box store and several smaller shops. The land is north of West Sixth Street to the east of the South Lawrence Trafficway. Sixth Street is in the middle of the photograph going from the east, at left, to the west. St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, 5700 W. Sixth St., is visible at left.

The developers concede that under the current restrictions they could not fill all three large buildings with retail stores. But, for example, they could fill the two smaller large footprint buildings and the majority of the seven outlying buildings with new retail shops. Or they could just fill the one large 175,000-square-foot building and only one or two of the smaller outlying buildings. Any space not occupied by stores or restaurants could be used for other nonretail uses such as banks, offices or service businesses.

Less opposition

Members of the development group stopped short of saying they would ask the city to increase the amount of retail allowed at the site, but they clearly believe the area could accommodate more stores.

"The site has tremendous exposure and visibility," Duane Schwada said. "We're following the deal the City Commission has approved because that's all that we can do."

Commissioners limited the retail space because there were fears too many stores would hurt downtown businesses and create traffic problems on Sixth Street.

Fritzel, though, said he didn't expect the new development to be direct competition for downtown. He also pointed out that his family's business - Gene Fritzel Construction Co. - is one of the larger downtown property owners and has proposed about $150 million worth of new development in downtown as part of a proposal to build a new downtown library.

The developers said they also believe the timing of the project will help alleviate traffic concerns. Currently, most of the property surrounding the site is undeveloped.

"This is a rare opportunity for the community to plan a large development ahead of any residential uses," Duane Schwada said. "This will be ahead of all the traffic. It will be ahead of all the houses."

Thus far the approach has worked well. The Mercado project has faced far less opposition from neighborhood groups than a shopping center and a Wal-Mart store has faced at the intersection of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

Reader poll
What do you think of the proposal for new retail shopping at Sixth Street and the SLT?

or See the results without voting

Gwen Klingenberg, president of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods, said her West Lawrence members were watching the project, but were taking some comfort in the fact that the amount of retail uses has been capped and the project likely would be built in phases over a number of years.

"I don't think there is as much concern with this project as some others because there have been some limits put in place," Klingenberg said. "The neighborhood hopes those limits stay in place. That is a very important issue for the neighborhoods."

Interim planning director Sheila Stogsdill said planning commissioners likely will review plans for the development at either their Sept. 25 or Sept. 27 meeting. The plans ultimately will need City Commission approval.

6th and the SLT

Comments

Pilgrim 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by swbsow (anonymous) on August 20, 2006 at 6:20 p.m.

I just don't see it, Pilgrim. You'd get lots of other towns who don't have a business like that who would otherwise have to drive across Lawrence to go to the Walmart there or either drive to Topeka to go to the Walmarts there. Plus you have all the interstate traffic from travelers just passing through and stopping for some cheap supplies.

I would think a good business model would tell them this is an excellent place to be.


Maybe that's why you're not the one providing them with their business models.

Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Best Buy... Think of all the really successful firms that have come to town over the past few years. They didn't become successful by making lousy business decisions based upon lousy business models. Do you see any of them in North Lawrence? Did you hear of North Lawrence even getting a sniff when they were considering a Lawrence location? No, you do not / did not. Now ask yourself why.

There you go.

You're welcome.

0

swbsow 7 years, 8 months ago

I just don't see it, Pilgrim. You'd get lots of other towns who don't have a business like that who would otherwise have to drive across Lawrence to go to the Walmart there or either drive to Topeka to go to the Walmarts there. Plus you have all the interstate traffic from travelers just passing through and stopping for some cheap supplies.

I would think a good business model would tell them this is an excellent place to be.

0

Pilgrim 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by swbsow (anonymous) on August 20, 2006 at 1:12 p.m.

What are the reasons that Walmart elected to build a brand new store and not remodel the Tanger outlet (which probably has the amount of space they originally wanted or more)? It seems like it would make good business sense to do as remodeling might cost less and you have the added benefit of I-70 being right there.

Not only would you get Lawrence shoppers, you would get Linwood, Okslaoosa, rural Jeffeson Co, and on top of that anyone traveling on I-70 who needs to stop for traveling items.


Because business model after business model after business model tells both business owners and developers to stay away from North Lawrence. The demographics and the socio-economics just aren't there.

0

swbsow 7 years, 8 months ago

None2,

I don't think I can agree with you more. I don't overall agree with Walmart's business principles but they have the potential to attract businesses.

You are equally correct about NW Lawrence. Taco Casa is gone. Pro-Cuts is gone. Hereford House is gone. JB Stout's is gone.

I, also, don't understand why N. Lawrence is considered such a crime area and "scary". But then I didn't grow up here. To me it is just an industrial looking area.

What are the reasons that Walmart elected to build a brand new store and not remodel the Tanger outlet (which probably has the amount of space they originally wanted or more)? It seems like it would make good business sense to do as remodeling might cost less and you have the added benefit of I-70 being right there.

Not only would you get Lawrence shoppers, you would get Linwood, Okslaoosa, rural Jeffeson Co, and on top of that anyone traveling on I-70 who needs to stop for traveling items.

0

Tychoman 7 years, 8 months ago

Marion you shouldn't be one to lecture (as you always do on EVERYTHING) with spelling-errors. Just earlier this week and last week you had spelling errors in just about every post. So much for "paying attention."

0

Kelly Powell 7 years, 8 months ago

Wow, jayhawks71.....What a compassionate and intelligent comment...Now why don't you give out your real name so marion can pose his rebuttal....I know, you feel all safe and snuggly under that white peaked hood of anonymity....But it is time to crawl out of your cave and be a man(or woman)....If you are going to curse someone with a horrible death you should have the testicular fortitude to let him know who is cursing him.

0

none2 7 years, 8 months ago

... Finally, I do know that where there is a Walmart, business moves around them. It is just too bad Walmart didn't build in North Lawrence. You can bet that if Walmart moved to North Lawrence, the former Tanger Outlet would be thriving, more retail would pop up and some of it would probably spill over into downtown.

0

none2 7 years, 8 months ago

I don't think this location will be a big a pull as some may think -- until Walmart builds near there. (Does anybody know the time table for the northern Walmart store?)

I believe we all have this idea: "if we build it, they will come". That doesn't seem to be the case. For instance, we had Tanger in North Lawrence, and we had the Riverfront Mall in downtown. There was nothing wrong with them, I really loved the shoe store, some kitchen stores in Tanger as well as stores such as Corningware in the Riverfront Mall. I don't know why they both declined. At least at first it seemed like there was lots of business. Maybe more were window shoppers than actual buyers. (NOTE: Though I don't normally agree with Myron I will add that in the case of Tanger I was shocked that some people had this attitude that they were going into a crime infested area of town. I have absolutely no idea why this perception percists in some minds.)

The only reason this Gateway might be a success is if it is near the proposed northern Walmart store. In many towns it seems where ever Walmart goes, the people go. It amazes me that you can go through medium size towns and see where Walmart used to have a store, and you tend to see decline in retail. (Lawrence is an exception -- thank you Sears!) Then you see where Walmart is now, and other businesses pop up near by, and there is LOTS of commerce. Currently, it strikes me that northwest Lawrence isn't nearly as attractive to retail as south Lawrence. The Dillon's store at 6th and Wakarusa doesn't seem to have as many as other Dillons stores. The mall next to Dillons there also seems under used. The same seems true to some extent west of them in the mall on the west side of Wakarusa. I also think of how Runza closed down their 6th street location. If it wasn't for the uniqueness and pull that Spangles has, that would be another vacatent spot. (FYP, perhaps some remember in that area there was also a very interesting large buffet restaurant several years ago. It just didn't last very long.) Likewise, I used to love Papa Murphy's which was near HyVee on 6th. They closed it down and now only are on south Iowa. I also tried to go to Arby's near Dillons on the northwest side. Obviously, they must not do well as they close earlier than other Arby's in town...

I really don't know WHY people choose to go to one area and not another. I can understand it in the case of where there actually IS a higher rate of crime -- which -isn't the case in North Lawrence. (An example of crime killing a place would be the mall in KCK that was at the intersection of I-70 & I-635. Once crime took hold there, it went downhill really fast. I don't think there is much of anything there now.)

0

jayhawks71 7 years, 8 months ago

Marion, you are a moron. You go to your little rivercity talk site and spread lies. May your Alzheimer's consume you slowly and painfully. Jerk.

0

swbsow 7 years, 8 months ago

the sign nazi will come and take them

Cowboy, is that like the Soup Nazi? No sign for you!

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

Yes, you are correct.

Thanks.

Marion.

0

lunacydetector 7 years, 8 months ago

marion, in response to your response to me, the high property taxes are somewhat based on what the rental rates are bringing downtown and what some properties brought when sold. so in essence, it is the over inflated rental rates that drove the values of the properties when the appraiser's appraisal of the property based its value on the income the property was generating in order to justify the financing from a bank. those figures are turned over to the county appraiser. thus, this increased the property tax. sure, maintenance is higher on dilapidated properties with inadequate or out of date electrical service or insufficient heating and air, but the property taxes are the meat of any extras a tenant has to pay. higher rent = higher property tax.

the unfortunate thing is, the county isn't going to drop the values of these properties downtown just because the spaces are vacant. they may hold the values in check, but that's about it.

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

Well, as they say on NPR (To paraphrase!), "Spelling is something that you would have learned had you been paying attention."

Did you ever consider that the owners were faced with rising property taxes?

Do you know that the "values" of neighbouring properties affect the values of land that you may own?

You may own a fram but if that farm is next to the Big Box, it may valued by the State at the same as the land on which the Big Box sits!

Do YOU actively advocate for tax reform?

Are YOU registered to vote?

Do YOU write, email, or otherwise contact you legislators on this matter?

Yeah, right.

Thanks.

Marion.

0

scott3460 7 years, 8 months ago

"If you feel that way, why did you not buy the property and set it aside?"

Actually, efforts along those lines were being pursued at the time, but the owners, in true speculator/developer fashion, plowed the land up to prevent such a result. Typical behavior, but still a shame.

And thanks for the spelling lesson. Never was a strong suit.

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

scott3460 wrote:

" Poor moron, he probably doesn't even understand how stupid his comment is. I just hope that 10 years from now, as he sits in a Wanamaker/Metcalf traffic hell, he comes to understand that "horrible traffic" emanates exponentially from each of these cancerous and useless "developments" that is allowed to disgrace our community.

Also for those of us that have been in the area for a while, it should be pointed out that this development will be nearby to the formerly virgin plot of prairie that had never been plowed, until speculators ruined it in the early to mid nineties. How proud we should be that we've traded such a jewel for a soon to be parking lot of some faux Italian Village, or some other such monstrocity."

Marion writes:

If you feel that way, why did you not buy the property and set it aside?

Thanks.

Marion.

P.S.

It is "monstroSity", thank you.

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

Tychoman wrote:

"Posted by Tychoman (anonymous) on August 19, 2006 at 9:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This "gateway" is a huge waste of money and space."

Marion writes:

Is it your money or your space?

Thanks.

Marion.

0

scott3460 7 years, 8 months ago

"I live on the west side of lawrence, and i'm very happy this is going in, because it will be alot easier to go there than to drive downtown and mess with the horrible traffic there."

Poor moron, he probably doesn't even understand how stupid his comment is.
I just hope that 10 years from now, as he sits in a Wanamaker/Metcalf traffic hell, he comes to understand that "horrible traffic" emanates exponentially from each of these cancerous and useless "developments" that is allowed to disgrace our community.

Also for those of us that have been in the area for a while, it should be pointed out that this development will be nearby to the formerly virgin plot of prairie that had never been plowed, until speculators ruined it in the early to mid nineties. How proud we should be that we've traded such a jewel for a soon to be parking lot of some faux Italian Village, or some other such monstrocity.

0

Tychoman 7 years, 8 months ago

This "gateway" is a huge waste of money and space.

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

Nope.

It is not the landlords downtown for the most part.

It is the excessive property taxes combined with the high cost of maintainence of those century old structures.

Thanks.

Marion.

0

cowboy 7 years, 8 months ago

The transplant commerce directors are drawing a nice salary and wouldn't rock the boat or they'd be fired pronto. Why would anyone want to go thru all the bs to open a biz in lawrence , site plans that take months to get approved after every tom dick and harry gets input on it , regulations on top of regulations , absolutely no balloons , oh god that is an aggregious offense , no banners , the sign nazi will come and take them , expensive advertising because the journal world controls everything , high property costs , higher rents , higher taxes , yeah a great environment , only if youre a huge chain can you bear that freight and timeline , thus the corporate conversion.

0

Reality_Check 7 years, 8 months ago

lunacyerector: If Lawrence is so business unfriendly, why doesn't the Chamber of Commerce say that?

0

lunacydetector 7 years, 8 months ago

the majority of retail vacancies sit downtown. the rents are too high because the old timer landlords saw what some of the major retailers were paying for their space. massachusetts street only has 9,500 vehicles per day as compared to the 27-32,000 found on the other major corridors. the other major corridors are not having vacancy problems, except for possibly one and that is due to poor traffic access caused by the City - namely where the hereford house was and across the street behind people's bank.

the REAL problem in lawrence is the over built office market. there are vacancies out the wazzoo. until lawrence STOPS being the MOST restrictive city in Kansas and possibly the midwest, those buildings will sit empty for years to come. you'd think lawrence would be bending over backwards to try to get white collar businesses to move to lawrence, but they sit on their hands unable to recognize these problems we've had for years. the living wage, though an honorable proposal has in effect stifled business. we aren't on anyone's radar to come to lawrence because we have a VERY BAD reputation for liking anything business related.

lawrence, kansas business UNfriendly....and proud of it

0

truthlawrence 7 years, 8 months ago

tutu merrill,,schauner ,,merrill get a life and stop sucking the wind

0

swbsow 7 years, 8 months ago

Why is there such a focus on building "bigger & better" things when we can't fill the places we have already?

These "bigger & better" developments aren't going to be any cheaper for businesses than what we have already.

0

ljreader 7 years, 8 months ago

Ward- Congratulations. You win the Journal World Lifetime Achievement Award for using the word TOUTED. This is the Journal World's favorite verb.(or some variation thereof). For your amusement and entertainment, please type the word "touts" into the JW search engine. It not only appears at least 3 times in headlines in the past month, it appears in over 2,265 stories. Once again. Congradulations, and say "hi" to the Beave.

0

Ward 7 years, 8 months ago

I'm apalled this nostalgiac Tuscan box is being touted as a new gateway to Lawrence.

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

Sigmund:

You are 100% correct and very astute.

Any of us who have a few bucks lying around when the time comes should be ready to buy in Downtown.

Thanks.

Marion.

0

Sigmund 7 years, 8 months ago

Sears and Penny's have had problems more than in just Lawrence and I am certain Walmart has done a market study and feel they will be able to compete and make money. Frankly I trust their judgement alot more then the City or Traffic Safety Kommissions! Unlike those Kommissions they are successful and are held responsible for their decisions.

Lawrence will never become Topeka or Kansas City, we will never be the capital of the State (thank god) and we will never attract enough jobs. There is nothing here except a cute but increasingly empty downtown and KU.

Downtown landlords and business don't want to compete with Walmart, who can blame them? But until rents downtown become more reasonable they must charge the prices they do just to pay taxes and rents. The only way prices are going to be reasonable here (both for retail space and retail goods) is to allow the larger companies to compete here.

I'm sure the Merc doesn't want to compete with Walmart, they won't be able raise their prices to pay for all the new taxes the City has imposed let alone keep up wages with the cost of living. Ditto for the downtown landlords who increasingly see their monopoly of retail space being eroded, buildings sitting empty, tax bills coming due and no one to rent. Eventually they will have to lower their rents, accept corporate tennants (Starbucks, Ben and Jerry's, etc) or allow the buildings to sit empty.

The crash in downtown real estate is coming and trying to postpone the inevitable by restricting competition will work for a little while. The problem is when your protectionism of downtown does fail the crash will be that much worse. You can only soak the Citizens of Lawrence (high prices, taxes, and rentals) so long before they can't afford Downtown prices and are forced into the open arms of Walmart.

0

frankzappa 7 years, 8 months ago

I would like to see the Fritzels and Compton burned alive on a big stake at the corner of the trafficway and sixth.

i've got a lighter on standby

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

The issue lies not so much with what is going to be done with the new development but what is going to be done with the older buildings available in town.

Creativity can resolve that issue.

Halting new development will not, in and of itself, re-vitalise the old.

Thanks.

Marion.

0

Aileen Dingus 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by Pilgrim on August 19, 2006 at 8:39 a.m. Posted by simplifying (anonymous) on August 19, 2006 at 7:54 a.m.

I do hope that there are environmentally sound aspects to the designs. Solar voltaics, dual flush toilets, natural lighting, greywater recycling, trees and shrubs planted for best natural cooling, a bus stop, etc.


As much as I'm sure you'd like it to be, this isn't San Francisco or Berkley. If I want to live there, I'll move there.


Pilgrim- why should energy efficient and smart designs be limited to use in SF? I doubt any of simplifying's ideas would happen, developers for the most part do not choose those methods, but I think it would be a great thing if more of them did.

0

swbsow 7 years, 8 months ago

The only "city gateway" that should be planned is an office park - with the City committed to lure employers to Lawrence. There is absolutely no shortage of commercial retail (6th & Wak doesn't look healthy to me) and, given the number of commuters, people can swing by any retailer not in town on their way home.

The office park on Kasold & Princeton is basically empty. There are only a couple of businesses there and one of them is a commercial daycare/preschool.

Don't you think more people would like to work in an office park like that since daycare is available in the same place? You could work and not have to drive across town to pick up your kid. You could go see your kid on your lunch or whatever.

Seems to me like that would be a nice little perk for parents and could be promoted as such to attract businesses to this particular office park which has sat idle for how many years now?

0

Jeff Goger 7 years, 8 months ago

I think Lawrence needs to consider devolping its roads before any more retail sites. It takes way to long to get across town. There are not enough large trafficways east/west or north/south. The ones we do have can't handle all the traffic. It seems like all the road money goes to making more round-abouts and not to the real problem of good safe traffic flow through the city.

0

stlcards515 7 years, 8 months ago

the whole point of this is to expand lawrence. why did we annex a bunch of empty land into the city, to build it up. I wasn't aware of this until the other day, but the lawrence city limits goes all the way out to the dam now. They put it out there, and everything in the middle fills up. People need to get it through their heads that people want to live in Lawrence, and it's growing.

The only reason people go downtown is for 3 reasons. The chain stores, such as AE, Abercrombie, Gap, Urban Outfitters, etc, and the bars. Then people stop by the local stores to see what's in there. When was the last time you heard someone say, oh I think i'm going to go down to the third planet, to see if they have such and such.

I live on the west side of lawrence, and i'm very happy this is going in, because it will be alot easier to go there than to drive downtown and mess with the horrible traffic there.

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

Tanger was based around essentially fraudulent "Factory Outlet" stores and locataed in NOTH LAWRENCE.

Like it or not, people will not go to North Lawrence.

Like it or not, North Lawrence is regarded by many people as the 'hood of Douglas County and this will not change in the near future.

I don't feel that way about it but I am only one guy.

Another reason for the failiure of NL to become tha gateway is that the main thoroughfare dumps into Downtown or a series of very difficult to navigate traffic lights on 6th Street and it is very hard for out-of-towners to get around in Lawrence via that route.

This is a done deal and nothing that you say will change this.

Thanks.

Marion.

The Gateway to Lawrence is and will be on the West side of town.

0

Tychoman 7 years, 8 months ago

No. I'm not 100% wrong. Tanger was supposed to be a gateway. Anybody remember Tanger? Lawrence doesn't need one any more than KU needs family-sponsored gateways. This is a bad idea and a waste of money, too much empty retail space in the city already. Plus this'll mess up traffic trying to get on K10 and US40.

0

GardenMomma 7 years, 8 months ago

I find it interesting that the picture of this new "Tuscan-style" building is titled "Mercato" and the LJWorld called it "Mercado" in the article. Doesn't the paper employ any copy editors? Or copy editors that know their sh--?

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

Tychoman;

No offence meant but you are 100% wrong.

Go look at a map.

Ya can't have a "gateway" inside the compound.

The "gateway" should be close to the main access routes; in this case, I 70 and K-10.

Thanks.

Marion.

0

Pilgrim 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by brfts (anonymous) on August 19, 2006 at 11:20 a.m.

Lawrence is well on it's way to becoming just another bland college town like Lincoln, Ne. I can just see it now with all the growth out west killing the local businesses and downtown drying up eventually. Do we really want to be like Johnson County??


Johnson County 2006 beats the hell out of Lawrence 1963. If you want to go back in time, Rushton probably has plenty of space available.

0

ljreader 7 years, 8 months ago

Nothing says "Welcome Last Call Patrons" like a "Tucson Italian style gateway".

0

Tychoman 7 years, 8 months ago

What a fool idea. 6th and Wakarusa could have been a gateway. That's sure what it seems like. This is a very, very bad idea. Yet another overblown waste of space and money.

0

brfts 7 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence is well on it's way to becoming just another bland college town like Lincoln, Ne. I can just see it now with all the growth out west killing the local businesses and downtown drying up eventually. Do we really want to be like Johnson County??

0

Gareth 7 years, 8 months ago

They want to build a "gateway to the city"....on the west side of town.....

...when most of the people coming here (by simple study of population density) are coming from the east.

Brilliant.

0

buffalobill 7 years, 8 months ago

I don't care how the developers dress this place up it still stinks. Sure these guys wanna make more money for their already rich selves and families but does Fritzel need to change the face of Lawrence forever with bad taste in the name of progress? Developers see themselves as some kind of super heroes or something, building a city with their bare hands helping growth and progress. It is really not a realistic self view. It is really about greed and overzealousness!!! Growth of this kind stinks. I'd rather see a wheat field there. Once the city gets ugly with all their buildings what kind of place will it be?

0

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

The only "city gateway" that should be planned is an office park - with the City committed to lure employers to Lawrence. There is absolutely no shortage of commercial retail (6th & Wak doesn't look healthy to me) and, given the number of commuters, people can swing by any retailer not in town on their way home.

What does "Tuscan-style Italian" architecture have to do with Lawrence? Is "Tuscan-style" the equivalent of fake Tuscan? If Fritzel wants to recreate a New England village-style, fine - that at least has some historical connection to Lawrence.

0

bmwjhawk 7 years, 8 months ago

U ppl are funny complainers. Thanks.

0

irishblues 7 years, 8 months ago

I CERTAINLY did not mean to come across as whining. I'm b*tching.

I work hard and I mean hard. I'm proud of my profession and my life's work. I've those same types of people on my staff. I've fired 'em for lack of productivity, absenteeism and no committment for excellence. It's the ones I keep and have some drive and sense of duty I can't give more $ to at review that lose more than I.

I guess I should have included the fact that I've worked hard all my life with no "unsavory" habits to "blow" my money on over priced baubbles, if I wanted to do that, I'd spend it in Lawrence!

I beg this board's pardon for my apparent "whining" about jobs, wages, gas prices, misguided ideals, etc.

I'm going out for coffee - plain - old - coffee. Thanks IB

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

irishblues:

The plight of the American farmer is indeed a grave one and you can evidently tesitfy to that fact.

I sincerely wish that it were otherwise but I beleive that we have gone so far down that road that the small farmer is going to become a thing of the past entirely and that is a tragedy.

If you must leave, best wishes to you and yours and I hope that you are able to recover and become successful.

Thanks.

Marion.

0

lilcountry 7 years, 8 months ago

Marion Lynn

Are the rural and country folk of Baldwin, Ottawa, Garnett and Lawrence supporting the once run down, trailer park, empty field that has been recently developed into the Best Buy-Home Depot area?

No-there is empty retail/business space still sitting. Waiting.... O' I'm sorry we have a UPS Store and another small sporting goods store trying to survive.

0

Godot 7 years, 8 months ago

Nice little tidbit here:

"He (Fritzel) also pointed out that his family's business - Gene Fritzel Construction Co. - is one of the larger downtown property owners and has proposed about $150 million worth of new development in downtown as part of a proposal to build a new downtown library."

$150 million dollar library development. hmmmmm. Just a few weeks ago it was $75 million. Amazing how quickly that has grown.

He conveniently leaves out the "tax payer funded" descriptor for the $150 million development, and the fact that, when it is all said and done, and paid for by the taxpayers, he and his buds will OWN the libarary and all of downtown.

Lawrence, home of suckers.

0

macon47 7 years, 8 months ago

Good paying jobs are available. But employers only give these to talented people that want to work more than they whine. A living wage is a joke, I cannot think of many legit employers that would jump at the chance to pay more, if they Could find employees that didn't want to idle around, and hang out on the company computer while they are supposed to be working. I can think of a number Of employees that have so many issues with their personal lives they hardy have time to go to work And when they get there the majority of the Work time is spent handling personal matters.

0

plumberscrack 7 years, 8 months ago

MWIV wrote:

Is there room in this town for people other than the Fritzel"s and Compton? When is enough, enough for these folks? That's my story and I am sticking to it. :)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When (Not if) Compton builds this mall and the downtown is hurt, he (Compton) will be cutting his own throat, since he owns most of the buildings downtown.

Don't worry about downtown, he'll make sure it stays intact. Only if he starts selling his property downtown, should we start to worry about the downtown.

JUST A THOUGHT HERE: Just like the discussion concerning cars and dependency on gas, several of you have said, "Don't drive the cars and the price of gas will come down". Well, what if we don't buy (lease) from the mall and quit buying newer homes and let the developers hang on to their malls and homes, until the bank note comes due?! They build them because we buy them. QUIT BUYING THEM and they'll stop building them!

0

irishblues 7 years, 8 months ago

No, I know I won't be missed, and I know the reality of no jobs in Lawrence.

I'd love to be able to shop these places. I'd love to be able to stay here and spend my money where I earn it.

I'm just another old settler thinking about loading up my wagon and heading back east since the farm won't pay off and the bank wants it back coz I couldn't make the loan. No big loss.

Thanks for the reality check, marion.

Thanks, IB

0

Pilgrim 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by Pro_Lawrence (anonymous) on August 19, 2006 at 8:06 a.m.

I agree with Merrill and simplifying but this is leap frog development. Let the housing fill first then build something. Do developers who build cheap apartment buildings and expensive homes make good shopping center developers? Downtown is hurting and this will hurt it more. Sixth and Wakarusa is quickly becoming empty. Build up, not out. Take care of the downtown first.


No, no, we can't have sprawl! No, no, we can't have high density! Welcome to Lawrence. The answer is NO!

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

Uh, read "survice" as "surviVe".

Coffee.

Thanks.

Marion.

0

Pilgrim 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by simplifying (anonymous) on August 19, 2006 at 7:54 a.m.

I do hope that there are environmentally sound aspects to the designs. Solar voltaics, dual flush toilets, natural lighting, greywater recycling, trees and shrubs planted for best natural cooling, a bus stop, etc.


As much as I'm sure you'd like it to be, this isn't San Francisco or Berkley. If I want to live there, I'll move there.

0

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

OK, so some of you folks will not go to the stores in this project.

The REALITY:

You will not be missed.

People from Perry, Lecompton, Tecumseh, Big Springs, Lawrence, McClouth, Ozawkie, Oskaloosa, Topeka and thousands of rural and country folk will.

I remember when Bill Spencer plunked his CSC which became Lawrence Toyota right in the midle of a cornfield at what is now the Lawrence Auto Plaza, many years ago and the same sort of folks were saying, "That's too far out! Who will go there?"

Well, obviously no one goes there which is why all those new cars are stored out there!

Lawrence is going to expand to the West and to the South.

To a certain extent, topography has determined this and again North Lawrence falls short as developers are unwilling to build in flood zones.

In light of the recent court decisions favouring insurance companies, do you wonder why?

You have already lost Downtown and all of the protectionist measures that you can impose will be of no avail.

Downtown should be allowed to morph into the only thing which will allow it to survice and that thing is for Downtown to become an entertainment district.

The "vision" imposed on you and this city by the "Progressives" has mandated that Lawrence will become a serivce oriented community.

Manufacturing has been discouraged and now the city has a notion wide reputaion for being unfrendly to manufacturers and so you are stuck with that one barring major changes in the buisness climate.

This is a good plan for now and the future.

Thanks.

Marion.

0

irishblues 7 years, 8 months ago

lilcountry; well stated. I agree, and I'm glad I'm not the only one of this opinion.

Go Merrill! I always love to read your posts. You say what I'm afraid to most day.

Thanks, IB

0

lilcountry 7 years, 8 months ago

It will be OK if some new main-stream dinning was available. I think that would attract people to the area for shopping.

However, if lawrence employeers would pay employees a wage that complements the cost of living in lawrence then all these smaller retail shops could have a chance to stay in business. There have been several "GOOD"shops and "GOOD" people loose their business' at the 6th and Wakarusa shopping center. I can only forsee this again if small mom and pop shops open in the area.

The development isn't going to help the job market. College or high school kids ususally work these type of jobs and are only around for 1-4years. Students as employees are replacable and cheap labor. This is another way employeers keep wages down.

0

irishblues 7 years, 8 months ago

Jobs that pay a living wage...When will Lawrence wake up and figure out that is the key? You can't spend money if you can't make money. If you're stuck in a town with nothing that pays more than squat per hour, you'll have nothing to spend! Go ahead, build more "tuscan style" crap. (plaza design?) You have to count on the small percentage that can afford to shop there (and I don't know what that % is) Majority of Lawrence citizens can't shop there anyway because they are too busy trying to make ends meet on $9 or less per hour. AND then the companies they DO set up here take advantage of the lower wage scale and they don't pay all that great, IF you can get on. Then they close down, because "they can't make any money" and every one is laid off. Hence, bedroom community because we all have to commute to to survive. But I'm not bitter....I just hate having to commute at $3 a gallon to make a decent living. I'm also considering moving in the next year closer to my work and leaving the bedroom community behind.
Sorry, had to vent. This Fritzel thing really frosted me.

0

Pro_Lawrence 7 years, 8 months ago

I agree with Merrill and simplifying but this is leap frog development. Let the housing fill first then build something. Do developers who build cheap apartment buildings and expensive homes make good shopping center developers? Downtown is hurting and this will hurt it more. Sixth and Wakarusa is quickly becoming empty. Build up, not out. Take care of the downtown first.

0

average 7 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps the Fritzels could use a European vacation. This is Tuscan architecture.

http://static.flickr.com/34/122602951_e7bb8ee47b.jpg

Mercato (and the 500 parking spaces that the artist forgot to draw) could be dropped on Metcalf and no one would even notice that it was there.

0

Reality_Check 7 years, 8 months ago

Oh, great, another place I won't be going during my once a year drive-through of The Other Lawrence while on my way back from Topeka.

There's nothing out there to attract me, and it's looking to me like there never will be.

Merrill: Good thoughts. Thanks.

0

simplifying 7 years, 8 months ago

I do hope that there are environmentally sound aspects to the designs. Solar voltaics, dual flush toilets, natural lighting, greywater recycling, trees and shrubs planted for best natural cooling, a bus stop, etc.

0

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

Where is the business? Basically Lawrence is a very small town especially when compared to KC/JOCO metro and Topeka. So long as nothing is done about the 15,000 or more job commuters the local economy is not going to change significantly. Those commuters spend money elsewhere which is not a new phenomenon.

Take a look around and we find downsized big named stores including Sears and Penney's. Why? Because the retail dollars are not available that would justify more square footage. More selection and better pricing exist in the huge retail areas that surround Lawrence and are not that far away.

Cities throughout the USA are restoring downtowns not only for living but also for retail. Lawrence is a great place to live but it has it's retail dollar limits. Most people did not locate to Lawrence to watch it become Topeka or Kansas City.

Wal-Mart and that bogus new urbanism project are also on the table for construction at 6th and Wakarusa. The old Wal-Mart has expanded. Obviously no one has done an economic impact study for any of these new proposals on an individual basis.

One major problem in Lawrence is that our powers that be think that because a speculator buys a piece of property that automatically dictates the right to build or develop. Not so. Buying land is like playing Wall Street...sometimes you win sometimes you don't. In Lawrence the real estate industry and developers are actually the city county planners which is why our taxes are so inflated.

Yes people love to visit Lawrence for it's college sports,art shows,music and it's downtown. Perhaps this ought to be the focus for further economic development? Empty space is not a tax burden until infrastructure is installed. How many more parks, rec centers, fire trucks,police cars,trash trucks,criminal activity and city staff do we want to add to our already inflated tax bills?

People moving into Lawrence appear to have slowed significantly? Is it because of too much crappy housing contruction,high taxes,lack of high paying jobs, high gasoline prices or what?

0

truthlawrence 7 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

ljreader 7 years, 8 months ago

75X55- Agreed! The only shot at good paying jobs connected to this project are for those involved in the construction. O wait....

0

75x55 7 years, 8 months ago

""It could be done in a way to provide Lawrence residents more opportunities to spend their money in town," "

Like there aren't enough already? How about places where Lawrence (aka. 'Bedroomville') can actually work decent jobs to earn that money IN this town? Naahh - that'd take too long to fill the developers purses.

Here's another one - no new commercial development until 75% of existing empty commercial space is leased...

0

Kline 7 years, 8 months ago

Maybe these guys will get it right, this time.

0

truthlawrence 7 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

sunflowerpower 7 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence is becoming Topeka, KS. There's a reason why Topeka is a joke, and these folks evidently don't understand the punchline.

0

MWIV 7 years, 8 months ago

I guess if there is vacant land, one can expect it to be developed. I just wished this community had spent the same amount of time and money finishing the SLT. I think it is time to maybe "move on" and get out of Lawrence. Somebody has to pay for all of this. The idea of private delelopers doing a new library downtown is just absurb. One might argue for a larger and better library, but having lofts and retail associated with it? Is there room in this town for people other than the Fritzel"s and Compton? When is enough, enough for these folks? That's my story and I am sticking to it. :)

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.