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Archive for Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wal-Mart expected to draw businesses to west Lawrence

This aerial photograph shows recent progress on the Wal-Mart that's being built at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. The view is looking northeast toward Free State High School.

This aerial photograph shows recent progress on the Wal-Mart that's being built at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. The view is looking northeast toward Free State High School.

September 2, 2008

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Wal-Mart in west Lawrence rising quickly

After years of legal and political wrangling, the city's newest Wal-Mart is quickly rising from the ground in west Lawrence. Enlarge video

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There's definitely no doubting it now.

Wal-Mart is well on its way to opening a second Supercenter in Lawrence, with construction work progressing quickly at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

After an approximately five-year legal and political battle to win approval, the store is now set to open next year - in late spring or early summer.

"Things are going really well right now with the construction process," said Angie Stoner, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart. "We're really looking forward to opening the store."

The sight of bricks and mortar rising from the ground already has caused other businesses to begin looking at surrounding property at the intersection.

"I anticipate that it is going to be a good corner," said David Bayer, with KC Commercial Realty Group, which represents owners of a shopping center at the southwest corner of the intersection. "Every other space that is next to a super Wal-Mart has turned out to be a good corner."

The shopping center recently lost H&H Bar and Grill as a tenant. Bayer said a search for a new tenant soon would begin. He thinks a more family-style restaurant would be a natural fit.

The Wal-Mart site also includes pad sites for four smaller businesses, with some of them likely to be restaurants. No deals for tenants for those sites have been announced.

Motorists soon will start noticing impacts from the project. City commissioners next week will put out to bid a project to install a traffic signal at Sixth Street and Congressional Drive. The intersection will lead to the store's main entrance point, which will be just north of Sixth and Congressional.

Although the city is overseeing the traffic signal installation, the entire cost of the project is being paid for by Wal-Mart and adjacent property owners.

The traffic signal project also will include an approximately 20 foot, landscaped median on Congressional Drive south of Sixth Street. The median is designed to discourage shoppers from cutting through the neighborhood when entering or leaving the Wal-Mart site.

Other entrances to the Wal-Mart will include one off Overland Drive just west of Wakarusa Drive. Another will be located on Congressional just south of Overland Drive.

Stoner said the store will employ about 350 people. The company will open a hiring center to begin taking applications in the early spring, Stoner said.

The store will include both grocery and general service products, similar to what the company carries at its Supercenter at 33rd and Iowa streets. But the new store will be significantly smaller than the South Iowa Street location.

The new store will be about 100,000 square feet. The South Iowa Street store is about 200,000 square feet.

Comments

igby 6 years, 3 months ago

Can't complain about Walmart anymore; I spend most of my money there. My concern is that they will not open enough checkout lanes and you have to wait too long to checkout now at the store on Iowa. They only operate about 10% of their capacity. With a new store, the Iowa store's business will shift to the new store for all who live West and North of Clinton and Kasold. Lawrence, really does not need a second WalMart, what are they thinking? Inventory of some Food goods will just be spoiled or they will have to not stock them anymore. You really have to watch the food-stuff for dates of expiration as it is.

JhawkGirl 6 years, 3 months ago

It sounds like the new Walmart won't carry as many grocery items as the current Supercenter. If that is the case, then it really should not have much effect on the grocery stores that are already in that area.

storm 6 years, 3 months ago

I think the westside is in desparate need of a coffee shop...open past 8PM with cyber capabilities. And the walmart should be a BYOB store..bring your own bag cause plastic sack trash is abundant around walmarts.

bangaranggerg 6 years, 3 months ago

ewww... the cost of the median is going to be absorbed by "adjacent property owners". I hope that doesn't include nearby home owners I hadn't anticipated having a special tax levied against me so that my commutes to work could take a few more minutes. {sigh} It seems like the developments proposed out there like Mercato and Bauer Farms are multi use and mixed. I'm very hopeful that means the area will be walkable and not just strip malls with giant parking lots like would normally surround a Walmart. That's most important to me.

d_prowess 6 years, 3 months ago

I find West Lawrence a very interesting place from a small business standpoint. It seems that the area has a reputation for having more money than the rest of Lawrence, but a number of businesses seem to fail out there. There was the movie rental place and Pizza joint at Wakarusa and 15th. The Baskin Robbins, HH Bar and Grill, that taco place at the 6th and Wakarusa corner. There may be more, but those are just the ones that come to mind. I know that a lot of small business fail, but it just seems like, considering the growth and money out there, some of those places should have survived. Does anyone have any insights as to why?

Jake Esau 6 years, 3 months ago

That Dillons will be almost as big as the Wal-Mart after its addition is done...

labmonkey 6 years, 3 months ago

Yea, shop at Wal-Mart and kill more American jobs. Hardly anything made there is produced in the United States. Damnit, I am sick of candidates saying "you've been knocked down," when we've done it to ourselves by not looking at the label and purchasing American goods. Yes Wal-Mart sells cheap goods, but at what cost? Every time prices drop there, the ax falls on another American job. Please, continue to shop at Dillons. Price Chopper bought out all of the Dillions in KC and I miss having a choice. Please continue to shop at the smaller businesses in Lawrence. There is a reason the new Wal-Mart was fought for five years. Too bad they couldn't take no for an answer.

Dale Stringer 6 years, 3 months ago

I thought the new WalMart was not going to be a Supercenter. Am I wrong?

lawrencechick 6 years, 3 months ago

I think the high rent is a real problem. However, well run businesses can make it. Most agree Hereford House was too expensive for the quality and Baskin Robbins was filthy.

Lindsey Buscher 6 years, 3 months ago

"Expected to Draw"???This article cites anecdotal evidence. So far nothing has been leased, and the Malwart is not that far off from opening...Those adjacent shopping centers have a difficult enough time maintaining occupancy...Here's what's going to happen: the new space being built with the Malwart will be filled soon enough, but the adjacent strips will not fill up and within a year or two Dillons will likely close, leaving a vacant building that will ultimately be blight. Malwart should be being built in N. Lawrence...they desperately need a grocery store, even if it's an all-in-one category-killer big box store.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years, 3 months ago

I read this headline and said "Is it April Fools Day already"?

Confrontation 6 years, 3 months ago

I agree, caxap. Most people on here go to Wal-Mart, although only about 10% will admit to it. Haven't you noticed the major increase in SUV traffic at Wal-Mart since the gas prices increased? I go to Wal-Mart, and I'll keep going to Wal-Mart. If I only need a few items, then I'll go to the Dillons closest to me. If I have several items, including pricier ones, then I'll make the trip to Wal-Mart. I also stop by stores in that area while I'm there.

caxap 6 years, 3 months ago

The small businesses struggle because there is no draw to the area. Once WalMart is finished, a lot of people will stop going to the other WalMart and spend a lot more of their time closer to home. This new WalMart will not force Dillon's to close, it will complement Dillions. There are a lot of things that I need at WalMart, but groceries is not one of them. I only buy groceries at WalMart because it is easier than driving clear across town to shop at the Dillon's at 6th & Wakarusa. Once the WalMart is open I will shop for groceries at Dillon's and WalMart stuff at WalMart. I won't eat out on the other end of town or get my oil changed or do any of the other things I do clear over there, becuase I won't have a reason to go there. Maybe I'm weird that WalMart governs so much of my life, but I bet I'm not alone. They have the best selection, best prices, and the best returns policy. If I want a specialty item I go to a specialty store, for everything else I go to Dillon;s or WalMart

Steve Jacob 6 years, 3 months ago

FYI Not just Wal-Mart kills local business. A study said since Nebraska Furniture Mart opens in KC, 33% of all furniture stores within a 50 mile radius has closed. Very interesting.

redneck 6 years, 3 months ago

What makes you think Dillons is so special? Do you suppose Dillons has run anybody else out of business in the past? How about Ace hardware? How about Walgreens? How about CVS? How about Pizza Hutt? How about Commerce Bank? How about all the Quick Shops in town? How about Best Buy? How about Home Depot? How about Famous Footwear? How about Sears? How about JC Penneys? Do you want me to keep going or are getting the idea? America is supposed to be a free country with a free enterprise. Competition is part of a free enterprise. Even YOU can open a business and undercut everybody's prices if you want. Wal-Mart is evolving as far as I can tell, because they are not always cheaper than everybody else on everything. I like Wal-Mart because i can guarantee you they are all handicap accessible. That is very important to me since i'm in a wheelchair. You can't guarantee that about the mom & pop businesses. Most of them don't give a rats rear-end if they are handicap accessible as far as I can tell. They are always very apologetic about it, but they aren't going to do anything about it unless I have a temper tantrum. I'm not going to do that. I'll just take my business to people who appreciate me and run those who don't care out of business. Do I have right to do this? I did last time I checked. I don't know how I would survive without Wal-Mart, because I can't afford some of the other stores prices. So go ahead & cry yourself a river, build a bridge and then GET OVER it.

MattressMan 6 years, 3 months ago

Marrill says "Those areas have their own bigger box stores,wider selection and sometimes lower prices. Why would anyone come here to shop for that type of merchandise?"I think Merrill is saying we need more big box stores here in Lawrence to draw more shoppers.labmonkey says: Yea, shop at Wal-Mart and kill more American jobs. Hardly anything made there is produced in the United States.Gee labmonkey, where does it say that pack of fruit of the loom you can buy at weavers is made? or that TV you can buy at Stonebacks? or.....

Tbird1 6 years, 3 months ago

even in mexico, things are cheaper at wal mart

LogicMan 6 years, 3 months ago

"Wakarusa Driver be re-named Wallyrusa Drive"No, but I'd support changing it back to its original "Dragstrip Road". The dragstrip is long gone, however.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 3 months ago

"d_prowess (Anonymous) says:I find West Lawrence a very interesting place from a small business standpoint. It seems that the area has a reputation for having more money than the rest of Lawrence, but a number of businesses seem to fail out there. There was the movie rental place and Pizza joint at Wakarusa and 15th. The Baskin Robbins, HH Bar and Grill, that taco place at the 6th and Wakarusa corner. There may be more, but those are just the ones that come to mind. I know that a lot of small business fail, but it just seems like, considering the growth and money out there, some of those places should have survived. Does anyone have any insights as to why?"Lawrence is a small town surrounded by tons of retail opportunitues in Topeka and KCMO/JOCO metro. Those areas have their own bigger box stores,wider selection and sometimes lower prices. Why would anyone come here to shop for that type of merchandise?There are not enough retail dollars in Lawrence to support all of the retail which will cost all of us money by way of increased taxes and user fees. Lawrence is experiencing economic displacement which is shifting available retail dollars from one area to another. Some call it economic pollution. For whatever reason developers and city commissioners are under the false impression that new retail magically creates more retail dollar availability in a community. Local taxpayers subsidize our local real estate profiteers.People with a lot of money are the minority therefore cannot support loads and loads of new retail. They do not necessarily spend significantly more money on everyday stuff just because they have more money. They need to spend a whole lot more money. The only sure draws to Lawrence are KU and downtown.Why not attract more stores into exisiting downtown structures if the powers that be want out of towner revenue? Downtown is where the action is.

Sean Livingstone 6 years, 3 months ago

Storm, there is one along the Dillon's corner. It's opened from 6pm to 8pm, and offers Wifi.

LogicMan 6 years, 3 months ago

"Some retail stores may go out of business at 31st and Iowa due to the loss of shoppers getting distracted at 6th and Wakrusa."Target likely the most. Fewer people will drive all the way down Kasold when the new Wal-Mart is much closer for them. But just a dent in Target's sales, nothing fatal.

Orwell 6 years, 3 months ago

Walmart proves that too many people don't know the difference between inexpensive and cheap, and that shortsighted "savings" will sucker them in every time. I'll vote for other businesses with my dollars.

MattressMan 6 years, 3 months ago

Puggy (Anonymous) says: within a year or two Dillons will likely close, leaving a vacant building that will ultimately be blight.Don't bet on it Puggy, if Dillons recently announced a close to 40000 sq ft addition to that store do you seriously think they would close it soon after completion.As for N Lawrence, sure they need something but why does everyone think it should be a WalMart? why not Dillons or HyVee maybe even another Checkers. Dont you think that if the population base was there to support a store one would be there?

Piggles 6 years, 3 months ago

We need another Chili's or Longhorn's restaurant out that way . . . . or BOTH!!!!!!!

Bud Stagg 6 years, 3 months ago

d,The rent is outrageous out there. We frequented the baskin robbins all the time, but you have to sell a lot of ice cream to pay that rent. HH went out because the original Hereford House had bad service and average food for high prices, people don't forget.

Lindsey Buscher 6 years, 3 months ago

Dillons at 6th and Wak will be closed within 1-2 years after Malwart opens. And when LJW does a write-up I'm sure some of you will get on here and blog about how you saw it coming.

chzypoof1 6 years, 3 months ago

Labmonkey...you sound like a true walmart "hater" ALL retail stores use foreign goods...even your beloved Dillons. Buy some seafood at Dillons...all from China/Malaysian farms...Welcome to the world economy. If you don't like it, don't buy stuff. Merrill....Downtown is WAY too expensive to draw normal shoppers. The out of towners maybe...but I think downtown forgets the normal folk. If I find something I like down there, it's worth picking it up somewhere else for the difference in cost. A fundamental change in rent/prices in downtown would definitely help your argument...poof

Crossfire 6 years, 3 months ago

Wal~Mart draws businesses like a pile draws flies.

West_Sider 6 years, 3 months ago

I know for a fact that the liquor store at 15th and Wak closed because of high rent cost. I don't remember the rates they were paying but they were steep.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 3 months ago

Some retail stores may go out of business at 31st and Iowa due to the loss of shoppers getting distracted at 6th and Wakrusa. Stores at 31st and Iowa will see a drop in impulse buyers and Lawrence will see a drop in sales tax from 31st and Iowa.

Lindsey Buscher 6 years, 3 months ago

"Poster complains about anecdotal evidence and then posts a bunch of anecdotal-based possibilities as fact. Ironic?"Never known glockowner to be a smart cookie, but proves the point yet again."I anticipate that it is going to be a good corner," said David Bayer, with KC Commercial Realty Group, which represents owners of a shopping center at the southwest corner of the intersection. "Every other space that is next to a super Wal-Mart has turned out to be a good corner."That is anecdotal evidence. I don't cite evidence, but rather base my opinion on the simple fact that if Lawrence has not been able to support all the retail on the NW part of town to this point, then what is going to change. Have you been ignoring the Census numbers that indicate our population is only growing at around 1%? No, of course not, why would you think about a good response to my point when you can just take a cheap shot at another poster, I mean that's what blogging in your mother's basement is all about (ironic, maybe?).I have no doubts that the Malwart will be successful, it is successful everywhere it goes, but the benchmark for grocery stores is about 1 per every 10,000 people. West Lawrence already has Dillons, HyVee, and now Malwart. We cannot possibly expect to support all three. Oh, and for all of you saying that "there is no way Dillons will close because it is expanding!" First of all, expansion means higher operating costs, which means higher break-even, and once Malwart opens, well, let's just say that no one has yet beat them at their own game.I am also not on a crusade for DIllons either, I could care less about Kroger, but it is clear to me that a slow-growing Lawrence cannot support such growth in retail.

storm 6 years, 3 months ago

People can stay overnight in Wal-Mart parking lots...should be a real treat before the next Wakarusa Festival if there is going to be one. Now we need a coffee-shop with cyber-capabilities open past 8PM, or a truck stop like the Roost of long ago in Topuka.

labmonkey 6 years, 3 months ago

Chzypoof-When I want fish, I buy American catfish (which Dillons and Price Chopper sell). Yes the other stores sell American stuff, but much of that is thanks to Wal-Mart (read my anti-Wal-Mart post in other threads as I don't want to type all that again). Read "The Wal-Mart Effect" by Fishman.

KURocks 6 years, 3 months ago

D prowess:No, but you can add JB Stouts to your list. I just went there a few days ago. They have just changed their menu, which means increased prices. The food sucked. I would have gone to Zig n Mac's but they were closed on labor day.

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