Letters to the Editor

Grand plan

February 2, 2008


To the editor:

As a licensed contractor by the city of Lawrence - currently working in Leavenworth - the Sunday headline in the Journal-World, "Building bust," comes as no surprise. I have built over 600 single-family units and multi-family units in Lawrence over the last 37 years. I've always attempted to build "affordable" housing. Can't do it anymore.

If you take a $40,000 lot (if you can find one) and build a 1,600-square-foot house at $100/square foot, you're at $200,000. Add on 6 percent for the Realtor and 10 percent for the builder (if he's lucky) and you're at $225,000. I sold the same thing 15 years ago for $89,900 and made money. What's going on? We've lost our way. Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore!

I've got an idea. Lawrence needs inexpensive single-family lots. Jes Santaularia wants to put in a business park. The fairgrounds wants to expand. The county wants to buy the Farmland property and turn it into a business park. The Pine family wants to sell their agricultural ground.

OK, let's see. County buys Farmland ground from bankruptcy court. County sells ground to Santaularia. County takes proceeds and buys Pine ground and moves fairgrounds. Access to I-70 and all kinds of new ideas abound. County sells fairgrounds land to local developers who proceed to put in affordable housing. County builds new fairgrounds with everything they want. Santaularia builds a business park. Most of the infrastructure is already in place. Seems like everyone would win, but again, this is Lawrence:

Dennis Barritt,



Kookamooka 10 years, 1 month ago

Yes, Yes, Yes. Sounds great. I like the idea of a NEW fairgrounds on the Pine land. The Pines have long been supportive of 4-H and the access to I-70 makes the plan really worth considering.

In addition to the 4H Fairgrounds, maybe consider adding some sort of Eco-tourism connection to lure more out of staters off of 70 and into Lawrence.

Maybe a pavillion that has exhibits based on bio-fuels, sustainability, global warming.

I don't know though. There are so many people in Lawrence who would feel threatened by a new idea that I don't think it would work.

BigPrune 10 years, 1 month ago

imastinker, Try $55-60,000 for a lot in Lawrence including infrastructure if lucky.

Max1, In reality, $60,000 + $160,000 + profit and fee. That's $220,000 + 10% + 6%. Remember to divide by .9 (for 10%) and .94 (for 6%) when adding percentages.

BigPrune 10 years, 1 month ago

Lot prices in Lawrence are at least double the price of other towns.

bearded_gnome 10 years, 1 month ago

watchit Dennis, some liberal nutbag will come along and label you a developturd! is your lte serious, or it seems to me tongue in cheek.
yes, this is lawrence, where growth is baaaaaaaaaaaad. and we have an opponent to public incentives on the public incentives review board, and a proponent of broken streets on the traffic safety commission!

imastinker 10 years, 1 month ago

Why is 1600 square foot a starter house? Our starter house was a two bedroom 850 square foot rental. We are now in a 1250 sq foot four bedroom ranch house.

Lots in this area are worth 30-35k. I think 40k is very reasonable with utilities and good streets already there.

By the way - if you are only making 10% you are not too smart.

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