Archive for Thursday, July 6, 2006

Developers have high-rise plans for campus corner

July 6, 2006


The plans call for five stories of brick and steel with underground parking in the space where a popular college beer joint and sandwich shop now sit.

Say hello to what could be the new doorstep of Kansas University.

Plans submitted to City Hall reveal a retail and commercial complex similar to downtown's Hobbs-Taylor Lofts, but at the intersection of 12th and Indiana streets where Yello Sub and The Crossing bar occupy a building complex that has been there for more than 90 years.

"They're quite impressive, and aggressive," said Jeff Morrow of the new plans. Morrow owns the building that houses the Yello Sub.

Details of the plan, submitted by Manhattan-based developer Robert Pottroff on behalf of Morrow and Pottroff's development partnership, Skyscapes of Lawrence LLC, are similar to the Hobbs-Taylor Lofts,750 N.H., in several ways: The new complex would including two- and three-bedroom condominiums with retail and commercial tenants filling the first-floor storefronts.

This rendering shows a preliminary development plan at 12th and Indiana streets. Skyscapes of Lawrence LLC has filed plans at City Hall proposing the five-story building that would include retail and commercial tenants on the first level and condominiums above. The building would replace the current homes of Yello Sub and The Crossing.

This rendering shows a preliminary development plan at 12th and Indiana streets. Skyscapes of Lawrence LLC has filed plans at City Hall proposing the five-story building that would include retail and commercial tenants on the first level and condominiums above. The building would replace the current homes of Yello Sub and The Crossing.

Pottroff could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Preliminary plans also show a building that would stretch more than 80 feet into the air and replace parts of existing structures with streetside parking lots, benches and fountains.

Those existing structures include the buildings that house Yello Sub, The Crossing bar, a hair salon and an apartment complex along Indiana Street.

Being neighborly

Morrow said he did not take part in the design or layout process - Lenexa-based Incite Design Studio rendered the plans - but that he liked the design and hoped it would act as first step in the long process of being reviewed by various city boards.

"It gives us a good starting point for a conversation with neighbors and the city," Morrow said.

On June 17, project developers made a presentation to the board of the Oread Neighborhood Assn. At this point, board members are looking at having developers give a presentation to Oread neighbors at the next association meeting Aug. 17.

James Dunn, president of the Oread Neighborhood Assn., said the neighborhood was waiting to learn more about the possible high-rise condominiums and the commercial plans. During the June meeting, board members had questions about parking and the possible effects on property valuations, he said.

No one so far has voiced a strong opinion for or against the project, said Dunn and Jodi Wente, coordinator for the neighborhood association.

"I think the board's realistic enough to realize that that corner's changed a lot, and it's not used as densely as it once was," Dunn said.

Yello Sub (Midtown)

624 W. 12th St., Lawrence


City staff members have not had an opportunity to examine the plans but said the Historic Resources Commission and Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission eventually would discuss the proposed development in public meetings. The first hearings could be in August, city staff members said.

The land likely would have to be rezoned to accommodate a multiuse facility, a process the Planning Commission would address.

Preliminary design

Morrow said he supports the high-rise aspect of the plan, though other design elements likely will have to be revised.

For example, Morrow said the lack of outdoor seating evident in the preliminary plans wouldn't fly at that intersection. Plus, there is no indication of any fenced-off outdoor space for a possible beer garden, whether it be The Crossing's or something else.

"There are some design issues that need to be addressed," Morrow said.

As the development moves forward, the futures of the Yello Sub and The Crossing will likely be addressed, too. Morrow indicated he thought both businesses could be included in the new structure, but Pottroff hasn't indicated whether the two campus cornerstones would be welcome tenants in a new building.

Dave Boulter, co-owner of The Crossing, wasn't in Lawrence when contacted Wednesday and said he hadn't seen the building designs.

But he said visualizing a bar like the Crossing in a new, condo-style high rise was a struggle.

"It's kind of hard for me to imagine that," Boulter said.

The Crossing's lease ends late next year, and Boulter recently has entertained offers to sell the bar business.

Morrow also said he had spoken with Yello Sub owner Bob Jones and assured him he has not sold the building.

Jones said he hadn't started sweating the future of his business. He has a long-term lease in place, and he sees Pottroff's plans as testing the boundaries of what can and can't be done with the intersection.

"This is like fishing with the city to see if this is even possible," Jones said. "I'm not thinking anything. I don't anticipate going anywhere."


fletch 11 years, 11 months ago

You've got to be sh*tting me. A 5 story loft project at that corner? In the middle of a freaking neighborhood? They seriosuly want a plot of land in the middle of a neighborhood to be rezoned for a 5 story condo and strip map? Am I missing something? Is Ed McMahon going to pop out with a hidden camera and yell surprise? A 5 story condo?

I'm just at a losss here. Moving all other sentimental argumments aside... it's still a freaking 5 story building in the middle of a neighborhood. That sucker's gotta be 20 feet taller than anything else around there. Our skyline of campus is now going to be the Strong Hall, the Campanile, and this thing? Seriously?!

Somebody get this guy out of Manhappenin' and make him look at the plot of land he paid for, because apparently he's missing something.

SoupBone 11 years, 11 months ago

I don't know about y'all, but I'm still mad that the FCC allows color teevee broadcasts!

Bring back the 1950's. Yawn.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

Another baseless pronouncement from Marion.

The simple fact is that the traffic a building of this size would generate would overwhelm an intersection that is already overwhelmed at certain times of the day.

My guess is they are shooting for a 3-story building, and this proposed behemoth is meant to soften up the city before negotiations begin.

monkeyhawk 11 years, 11 months ago

A perfect smart growth model.

Can anyone tell me how long the waiting list is for the Hobbs Lofts? Or how long is the waiting list dying to get into that retail space below the lofts?

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

bwahahaha monkeyhawk. smart growth at work. more congestion upon congestion and inconvenient in a congested building is great for epidemics and a great way to keep the population in check.

they should've gone for a hotel instead. i think zoning for a condo is the same as an apartment building. a hotel would be cool up on the hill towering over everyone, especially on game day, but it would have a negative effect on the eldridge and holidome.

by the way, does anyone know how the eldridge is doing anyway?

Kyle Rohde 11 years, 11 months ago

Why keep tradition alive? Why not convert Danforth Chapel to condos, since it was damaged in the wind storm anyway. Let's knock down the Wheel too. We sure could use condos at that intersection too.

Who's going to buy condos that close to campus anyway? Maybe we can have some more luxury housing for the most well-off KU students to live in. That'd be great too.

October 11 years, 11 months ago

Please tell me this is a sick joke. Why is this town turning into another Johnson County. Are all of our corners going to look exactly the same? Are we going to get lost in our town because we can't tell one block from the other? I am so sick of money talking in this town. Goodbye liberal Lawrence, we are now controlled by the rich.

cutny 11 years, 11 months ago

Can't wait until the first drunk college kid falls off the top of that thing.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

...just the way the liberals want it october. that's why a house in lawrence costs $50-75,000 more in lawrence than lenexa.

whatever happened to the affordable housing task force anyway? they certainly didn't accomplish much. all talk, because ground leasing to build a house isn't the answer.

LivedinLawrence4Life 11 years, 11 months ago

Have you looked at that corner currently? Drive by and take a look. It is run down and ugly. The drawing the developers submitted looks like a very high quality improvement to that location. It appears that they are even adding underground parking. Very cool. We all talk about reducing sprawl. This is a perfect infill development that looks like it will give some people the opportunity to live near and walk to campus without having to live in an old home near campus with lead-based paint and a failing basement. If The Crossing and The Yellow Sub have a strong customer base for that location, perhaps they can lease the retail space on the main level.

Aileen Dingus 11 years, 11 months ago

Wow. That's just... wow. Talk about over the top!

Not a bad looking building, but not for that space.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 11 months ago

Two thoughts:

1 - I like that design. It has a lot of appeal, which is good for all the property owners near it.

2 - Apart from all our emotional attachments to the current buildings, who here really thinks that those old buildings have any real character? Those places are dumps.

This is a great idea, and a great plan. And, I think Marion is correct in his assessment, and that YS should be in talks with those developers right now if they want to save their location. That's my opinion.

Adrienne Sanders 11 years, 11 months ago

You've got to be kidding me... that thing is ridiculous.

I agree that the current buildings are rather run down & crummy, but that thing is not the answer. Way too big, doesn't fit in the neighborhood and who in god's name would buy a condo in that location??? Scale it down... wayyy down.

akuna 11 years, 11 months ago

I don't mind the size of the project. In fact, I embrace it. Lawrence needs to start thinking about high-density living so we don't sprawl all of the goodness out of this fair city.

What I do mind is the triteness of the design. To be honest, it borders a look between thrifty and bad 90's style design. It would be nice if they used a real architect and gave the architect some freedom to make a respectful, vernacular design. As it is now, the design is complete crud. It looks like Manhattan sensiblities are moving to Lawrence.

trinity 11 years, 11 months ago

why is there a zeppelin(sp??)in the rendering?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 11 months ago

OK, I'll concede that it's a little too tall, but those who buy units in the building will have INCREDIBLE views.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 11 years, 11 months ago

Ditto akuna's remarks. I think there is a lot of potential for the new building, just not sure about the design or size. I don't know about residential space though. I would have thought office space or hotel in addition to the lower level retail. But, I'm not an expert on Lawrence yet. I just hope they make the right decision since it will be a permanent one. I do like the effort to make underground parking. This is needed in more places.

Don't muck it up people!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

The typical European city, which is very densely populated, consists mostly of 3- and 4-story buildings, not skyscrapers. 5 stories is not necessary or desirable at this location.

Kristen Murphy 11 years, 11 months ago

Gee sounds a lot like what they are currently doing in Manhattan...Putting up a high rise right next to campus. Interesting...

Kansan82 11 years, 11 months ago

I hope Skyscapes of Lawrence LLC paid a lot for this design drawing because it looks like the Hobbs-Taylor lofts were flown to the top of Mt. Oread. Literally folks!

Look carefully at the deminsions of things. Like the person standing on the balcony on the corner of the second floor. The people depicted would have to be toddlers to make that building fit. Unless he's bought up the house just to the North of Yello sub on Indiana, and perhaps those apartments too, there is no way that building footprint will fit on the piece of land he's bought. Count the number of parking spots along Indiana in the photo, and the number of the ones there now also. Unless there are plans to widen Indiana, there is no where near enough space on the corner of Indiana and 12th to turn a bus.

The whole thing is laughable. Planning Commission, please don't waste your time talking to these people until they have a more reasonably scaled project to discuss!

Janet Lowther 11 years, 11 months ago

Only in Kansas could a FIVE story building considered high rise! Especially with one of those stories being a basement garage.

There are already 3+ story firetrap apartments on Louisiana and while the ECM building across the street is only three story, the third story is two, maybe three stories high, so the scale of the proposed project is not that much out of line with that corner.

However, condos in the student ghetto would seem to be a hard sale, at least if there was an owner occupancy only clause. . .

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

"Who's going to buy condos that close to campus anyway? "

The nuclear physics grad students from Dubai?

Dani Davey 11 years, 11 months ago

I don't have any particular ties to the current buildings there and don't see any problems with the new design. I agree that I think the five stories is a negotiating point and it will actually turn out to be something more like 3 stories.

My question is why condos? Most college students aren't going to afford luxury condos like the hobbs-taylor condos and who is going to want to live at the north end of campus except students? How about some nice but affordable new apartments?

Dani Davey 11 years, 11 months ago

I'd also like to say that I really like that there's a blimp in the sky in the design. Cause blimps fly over Lawrence constantly.

Bradley Kemp 11 years, 11 months ago

I'm with Akuna. Why must we keep building this sort of thing? Is there no appetite in this town for a good modern building instead of third-hand historical pastiche?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

"I told you two years ago that this sort of thing was coming and now here it is."

Yea, Marion, an article in the newspaper about a proposed building is really a sign of the impending apocalypse. You are so prescient.

ryank4u2 11 years, 11 months ago

Is that a blimp, I see, hovering above the building in the picture!?! In KU colors no doubt...


ilkeeze 11 years, 11 months ago

I wholly disagree with the proposal and most likely imminent construction of this building. It is going to be out of place and character with the current residences around it. As a resident barely a block away from this site, I am not looking forward to the outrageous rent increases (myself and others) will have to endure to compete with "high scale living". Not to mention the scale of the building does not need to compete with Fraser Hall and the Kansas Union. Is this a lame attempt at creating a "skyline" in Lawrence? Possibly. A construction like this may function in Downtown Lawrence, but near the University of Kansas, it certainly does not. The City of Lawrence should shift it's focus on filling the vapid, empty office/retail spaces that places like this supposedly boast about providing, as well as, a number of grievances that remain ignored.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

maybe the blimp will take on passengers on the roof. oh, the humanity of it all. would it be against code???

i still think a hotel would be a better fit, plus the retail MIGHT survive. not a major thoroughfare on either road, however. retail might go the way of the downtown parking garage or hobb's, which is going south.

Charla Welch 11 years, 11 months ago

People don't just buy loft/condos to live in. My boss bought a condo in the old Western Auto building in KC. He goes there some weekends. He uses it as a private hotel room when he wants to do something in the city.

I can totally the KU alumni with money buying lofts so they have a place to stay for the big games. Or, if the contract allows, renting them out to students with money.

as for liking the design... I agree that the current buildings have to go. The drawing makes it look big, probably much bigger than the real thing would look. I'd have to walk on over and look at the neighborhood again to really see if it would fit.

conservative 11 years, 11 months ago

Pywacket. Ed McMahon was on TV's Bloopers and Practical jokes. So the reference works.

Not sure about the building itself. Looks alright on it's own, but not sure how it's going to fit into the area.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 11 months ago

"My question is why condos? Most college students aren't going to afford luxury condos like the hobbs-taylor condos and who is going to want to live at the north end of campus except students?"

Faculty. Staff. I drive 50 miles to work every day. What I'd give to be able to walk to work. My wife works on campus. While I don't think we'd like the "loft" lifestyle (where would I put my 220 pound grill?), we'd both love the convenience.

monkeyhawk 11 years, 11 months ago

Gee, I never thought about buying my second home downtown. I can see the errors of my ways for looking at beachfront property...

DaREEKKU 11 years, 11 months ago

I am all in favor of building up rather than out. But, this building will overpower campus in the proposed location. Does anybody else find it suspicious that the drawing of this monster is HUGE and the amount of space there actually is doesn't match up?? Also, that corner is already dangerous for us students who drive and walk, this will only make it worse. It should be scaled down to resemble the turn of the century buildings on Mass Street. There is simply not enough space!!

thisiknow 11 years, 11 months ago

Since I read the first post I have been thinking about Campus Hideaway-------GIVE IT TO ME NOW!!!. That alone makes me think of Earl's Pizza--YUMYUM---How about The Hole In THe Wall? Great sandwich's from there! Everything must change but if the places are well loved and served us well we will never forget them. I remember years ago when they closed Earl's--I drove to South Dakota for vacation and was hoping to have a sausage pizza at the original Earl's and when I got there I found out the original was closed just the week before to be made into a disco--What a Shame.

Kristen Murphy 11 years, 11 months ago

"My question is why condos? Most college students aren't going to afford luxury condos like the hobbs-taylor condos and who is going to want to live at the north end of campus except students?"

You'd be surprised how many college students will fork $$ over to live in the lofts. Of course they'll have to have the $$ to afford it. I also agree with OldEnuf - faculty will eat them up to. I think that's what they are thinking in Manhattan to. At least the "high rise" here in Lawrence will look somewhat normal, the one in Manhattan looks extremely out of place. If you're in Manhattan - check it out - it's on the corner of Bluemont and Manhattan Ave. It's fabulous lemme tell ya.

Adrienne Sanders 11 years, 11 months ago

I'm a KU staff member, and I'm guessing I'd either not be able to afford or not want to live in whatever lofts/condos they'd build. For instance the lofts at 10th & New Hampshire- they're small, unappealing, and expensive for what you get. If they were bigger they'd be out of my price range.

Somehow I don't think faculty want to live that close to campus, either- it's practically on campus.

StirrrThePot 11 years, 11 months ago

I heard that some of those Hobbs-Taylor lofts go for around $300,000 a pop.

It seems to me if you could fork over that kind of money to buy a home, you would not want it in the middle of campus. I love my alma mater, but I don't want to live near it. Of course, I have a spouse, 2 kids, and 2 cars too.

If the college kids want them, they have to get Mom and Dad to fork over the cash. Do parents really want to dump that kind of money into a "rental" for their kid and 2-3 of their kid's friends? Doesn't seem wise to me.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 11 months ago

"It seems to me if you could fork over that kind of money to buy a home, you would not want it in the middle of campus."

A: The best view in Kansas. That's why.

drewdun 11 years, 11 months ago

Knew it would be less than ten posts before one of the resident wingnuts blamed this on the evil liberals.

I just want to make sure I get this straight - a wealthy Manhattan developer (those three descriptives SURELY identify a liberal elitist) wants to build this monstrosity over campus, and its the LIBERALS fault? And just so you know, building extremely expensive high-rise condos for the uber-wealthy near campus and in the heart of the student ghetto does not constitute "smart growth." But I guess knee-jerk reactions blaming liberals for everything is easier than actually dealing in facts and reality.

justsomewench 11 years, 11 months ago

this looks eerily like the plans for the new public library. think they could wedge that in the structure, too? and a homeless shelter? throw a little hilltop daycare expansion in and a bus depot and...and...and...

i'll take two of whatever that developer's on.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

Hobbs-Taylor was a development by Harris Construction, Marion, not the city of Lawrence or the PLC.

This new proposal is from private individuals and has absolutely nothing to do with the goverment or staff of the city of Lawrence, and certainly not from the "movers and shakers" of the PLC.

Give your wacko conspiracy theories a rest, dude, before your head explodes.

MyName 11 years, 11 months ago


I'm sorry I have to tell you this, but we've had to suspend your license to pundit. You're just using up too much bandwidth. I mean 2541 posts, that's alot of abused electons!

Marion, I did a rough estimate, crunched some numbers, and the people using Sunflower's bandwidth for things that actually benefit society, like downloading porn, or illegal internet gambling, could easily save 10 or 15 seconds off of their download time, easily. So we at the planning commission have got together and decided to revoke your license to pundit. No need to thank me, it's for the benefit of society.

And should you suddenly decide to commit a PWL (pundit without a license) be aware that we will mock you mercilessly, until those of us on the planning commission get board and do something else.

(No, really, Thank You)

MyName, Esquire, Spokesperson for the Northeast Central Bandwidth Planning Commission of Southwest Lawrence

mushfish 11 years, 11 months ago

Damn developers! Lawrence is becoming just like every city in the U.S.. Strip malls, chain stores, loft apartments. This "progress" is destroying everything that made Lawrence cool and unique. Soon Massachussetts street is gonna be over run by corporate national chains stores(by soon I mean right now). People like Doug Compton are buying up all the property in town , raising the rent, and running the small business' out. At least, they're getting rid of any and all character in town, character is bad!! Conform!! Sig Heil!!!

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