Archive for Friday, September 4, 2009

Lawrence Community Theatre may be among Bauer Farm tenants

September 4, 2009


Community theatre seeking improved facility

The Lawrence Community Theatre is close to launching a fundraising effort to help improve facilities. Enlarge video

Already a CVS drugstore and a Taco Bell are close to opening at the new Bauer Farm development at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

But the development — along Sixth between Wakarusa and Folks — may be a small step closer to landing a marquee tenant of a different type: The Lawrence Community Theatre.

Mary Doveton, the executive director of the community theater, confirmed Friday that her organization has raised a significant amount of money during the “quiet phase” of a major fundraising campaign.

“We’re really making progress, and it is still definitely our goal to make the move,” Doveton said.

Doveton declined to say how much money has been raised or how much the group needs to make the move to northwest Lawrence. She said she anticipates formally kicking off a public fundraising campaign in the next couple of months.

The theater has been in a former east Lawrence church building at 15th and New Hampshire streets since 1984. The development group for Bauer Farms has donated an approximately three-acre lot in the center of the development for the theater.

Doveton has hopes of building a theater that would approximately double the seating capacity of the current facility, which can accommodate about 150 spectators.

“It just looks like it is going to be a wonderful opportunity,” Doveton said. “It looks like an opportunity where the neighborhood, the businesses and the arts can come together and really play off one another.”

The development has been proposed as a type of live-work-and-play project — one that features mixed-used buildings where homes, offices and retail space all are within walking distance.

Developers, though, are currently focusing on filling more traditional retail space along Sixth Street, said Bill Fleming, a member of the development group.

In addition to the CVS and the Taco Bell, the group recently filed plans for a 10,000 square foot retail building that will front Sixth Street. Fleming said preliminary deals have been struck with a wireless telephone store, a restaurant and an ice cream shop to fill part of the building.

The development group also is seeking approval for an automated “tunnel” car wash. City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting will consider a request to change the plans to allow for the car wash, which would be north of the CVS store.

Also north of the CVS store, a quick-lube automotive shop already has been approved.

The project includes about a half-dozen other lots along Sixth Street that developers are seeking tenants for. Fleming said the company is working to find restaurants. He said the group has had discussions with businesses similar to Panera Bread and Einstein Bros. Bagels, but no deals have been reached.

“Those are the types of businesses we would love to have,” Fleming said. “Sandwich and soup type of shops would work great out there.”

Larger restaurants also are under consideration. There’s been some speculation that The Olive Garden is looking at the corner. Fleming said his group wasn’t currently in discussions with the restaurant, but “would love to have them.”


Horatio Bfor 8 years, 6 months ago

Sounds great! Where do we donate for this?

BigPrune 8 years, 6 months ago

That thing out there sure has taken years to get off the ground. I wonder why the lengthy delays?

Bassetlover 8 years, 6 months ago

While I will greatly miss the ambience of their current location, this will be a fabulous move for the LCT! They'll be able to put on bigger productions and offer more classes. LCT is a real Lawrence gem so worthy of our support.

texburgh 8 years, 6 months ago

Bauer Farms was sold as "new urbanism." Walkable mix of residential, office and retail. Someone ought to take a look at the "artist's rendition" of the development. Now it's clearly taking a strip mall turn. Proof once again that Lawrence developers will lie their way into approval and then pick the development apart through little adjustments. First it's a very traditional CVS, then a drive through Taco Bell; now they're asking for a "tunnel car wash" and luring a traditional Olive Garden. A City Commission that had integrity and was not owned by the developers would hold them to the original plans, the concepts, and the artist's drawings. Of course, our City Commission has no integrity and is entirely owned by the developers. Welcome to the Bauer's Farm Big Old Strip Mall.

BigPrune 8 years, 6 months ago

Actually texburgh, it was the "Progressive" controlled commission that passed Bauer Farm. Don't try to rewrite history.....and what the hell is wrong with a strip mall anyway? Chances are you live miles away from this place, even if you say you live nearby - I won't believe you.

texburgh 8 years, 6 months ago

Big Prune: Yes, the "progressive" commission approved; the "developer-owned" commission is giving permission to alter it. Strip malls mean lots of traffic with many curb cuts for entrance and exit. And pretty soon they'll be half empty. Look at every one around town. And yes, I do live nearby - within 1/2 mile of Bauer Farm. I'll stick with the truth; you just continue your usual communication style of launching attacks that have no basis in fact and are intended to discredit others through your own made-up realities.

Horatio Bfor 8 years, 6 months ago

It is kind of messed up about what has been built so far. Doesn't seem to be what I was expecting at all. I live 200 feet from the corner of this land. How did they manage to change the concept? is the whole "new urbanism" thing gone?

BigPrune 8 years, 6 months ago

texburgh, In all defense, I am a business owner who tried to rent space in one of Lawrence's emptying strip shopping centers, and I found it cost prohibitive to even attempt renting a space in this town because of all the restrictive regulations the progressive commission put into place. I sincerely think it was a conspiracy. I would've had to pay for a brand new site plan for the whole shopping center just to rent a small space, but I was told ahead of time that the parking lot was no longer large enough including the vacant space due to the code change, and I'd have to most likely file for a parking variance. The process would take 6-9 months! Then, I could do the construction of the interior hoping that the building permit could coincide with all of Lawrence's other nonsense. I was looking at signing ONLY a 3 year lease!

Instead I opted for Lenexa. It was a cake walk.

Boo hoo, Lawrence lost yet another business, my own, and I've been a resident my whole life. I however, do not think that Bauer Farms has deviated from their original plan passed by the progressives, and if so, please tell me.


Keith 8 years, 6 months ago

Why anyone would pay 1% higher sales tax for the stores listed so far is beyond me. Will they have any real destination stores or will it be all stuff you can find in the real downtown?

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