The Moon Bar is poised to get back in business - under a different name, with a different theme and operating with different hours.
But the new restaurant - Japanese, Chinese or some form of Asian fusion cuisine paired with late-night music and spirits - will occupy the same Iowa Street building that gained infamous notoriety with an incident nearly two years ago that led to J.R. Giddens' departure from Kansas University's basketball team.
"I can't wait anymore," said Xin Li "Sonny" Liu, who owns the building that he and partners had put up for sale in October 2005.
Liu said he would open a restaurant and bar sometime in the next month or two at 821 Iowa, a 4,200-square-foot building that has been vacant since Moon Bar closed in July 2005. The bar was the site of a closing-time melee in which Giddens had been slashed.
The incident involving Giddens - who transferred from KU and now plays basketball at the University of New Mexico - gained so much attention that Liu knows he'll be making changes.
"I will change the name," he said this week.
Liu and his partners originally had intended to sell the building and an adjoining lot, listing the property for $1.249 million. They touted the site as being big enough to accommodate redevelopment into apartments and offices.
But last year the listing price had dropped to $830,000, Liu said, and an interested buyer from out of state had spent eight months working on a deal that would never materialize.
Liu was done.
"I've changed my mind, and I don't want to sell anymore," said Liu, who also owns Royal Peking and TryYaki restaurants in Lawrence and two others in Manhattan. "If somebody wants to lease, I'll lease. But if not, I'll open a bar."
Liu's building isn't the only property in the area to be on the market. Doug Compton, president of First Management Inc., and a partner recently secured a deal to purchase the former Sinclair service station at the northwest corner of Ninth and Iowa streets. The site is available for lease.