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Archive for Tuesday, August 3, 2010

7-story building going up in downtown

The building will be seven stories tall and be built at Ninth and New Hampshire streets.

August 3, 2010

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Bus stops to move

City leaders temporarily have moved downtown bus stops in anticipation of construction of the new seven-story building.

For at least the next year, buses no longer will stop along Ninth Street between Vermont and New Hampshire streets.

The new downtown bus stop for Routes 1, 4 and 7 are now on the east side of New Hampshire, north of Ninth Street. The bus stop for Routes 3, 6, 10, and 11 will be on the north side of Ninth Street between New Hampshire and Rhode Island streets.

The changes are expected to be in effect until construction work on the building is completed, which likely will be fall of 2011.

The center of downtown Lawrence is about to get taller.

Construction crews are expected to soon begin work on a seven-story, $10 million building that will house 55 apartments and a mix of retail and office space at Ninth and New Hampshire streets.

“I think in the next 30 days we’ll be digging a basement,” Lawrence developer Doug Compton said Monday.

The building, slated for the southwest corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets, would be nearly as tall as the adjacent U.S. Bank Tower. The Journal-World reported in April that a group led by Compton was exploring the project. On Monday, Compton said he had begun pre-leasing the building and was finalizing details on bank financing.

“From what we’ve heard, it seems to be exactly what everybody who has any interest in downtown says they want to see,” Compton said.

The project would include 55 apartment units on the top five floors of the building. The second floor is set aside for a single office user, with the headquarters for Compton’s First Management Inc. being the most likely tenant. Compton said he’s close to finalizing a lease with a health club to occupy the ground-floor space. A small coffee shop and wine bar also would be included on the first floor.

The apartments will be a mix of 10 studio units, 35 one-bedroom units and 10 two-bedroom units. Parking for the apartments will be provided in the existing city-owned parking garage, which will be slightly modified to connect to the new building.

Compton said the project will be geared to attract a variety of tenant types, including retirees, young professionals, graduate students and downtown employees.

“The dynamics of downtown have changed a lot over the last dozen years,” Compton said. “The Hobbs Taylor Lofts got a lot of people thinking about living in downtown. People’s attitudes about that have really changed.”

Unlike the Hobbs Taylor project — a multistory condo development at Eighth and New Hampshire — all of the living units in Compton’s building will be rentals.

Compton said he thinks that may be the next big trend for downtown. He said that if the project goes well, he’ll consider transferring the concept to other properties he owns downtown. Specifically, Compton said, the former Strong’s Office Supply building in the 1000 block of Vermont Street could be a candidate for a multistory, mixed-use building.

Other developers also may start eyeing other large, underdeveloped sites in downtown.

“There is a lot of potential for this, but you have to have someone put their toe in the water and see what the temperature is,” said Bill Fleming, an architect with Treanor Architects, which also is involved in the project. “That’s what this will do.”

The Ninth and New Hampshire project already has most of the city approvals needed to start. The property long has been zoned for downtown commercial development, which allows for residential uses. The building design has won approval from the city’s Historic Resources Commission, and city planners are close to finalizing the site plan for the property, said Scott McCullough, the city’s director of planning.

Several downtown leaders also have endorsed the project. Joe Flannery, president of Weaver’s Department Store, said additional living units most likely will be the best way to add new types of retailers to downtown, like a drug store or even a grocer.

The size of the building also has not caused business leaders to balk.

“We’ve known for a while that if downtown is going to grow it would grow vertically,” Flannery said. “We’re expecting to see more of that. This will just add another landmark for downtown.”

Comments

northtown 3 years, 8 months ago

Compton as the buider-It will be cheap crap-look good for 10 or 15 years then rot slowly into the ground!!!!!!!!!! Good Luck Lawrence with your downtown-Glad we left-Lawrence has nothing anymore to offer-No Jobs-No Roads-Just a bunch of liberal or something idiots--Time to grow up-Lawrence is just a retirement buidlt around a college-look at it ans see-Not hard to miss!!!!! As before---Good Luck Lawrence-a slowly dying town-just city by population-town in all other respects!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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madhatter 3 years, 8 months ago

It's so FAUX LOFT looking you will wonder where it was supposed to be - Kansas City?

This will make you FAUX UP!

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seriouscat 3 years, 8 months ago

When the heck are you people who say the parking garage is empty going downtown and/or checking every floor in there to see if it's full?

Just the last few times I have used it it was full all the way to and including the top floor. One can still easily find a spot in there because people are in and out and not parking there all day since it is, and should be, a short term lot for downtown shoppers and Art Center patrons. That's what the public agree to pay for is it not?

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lucy1 3 years, 8 months ago

If you are looking for lost revenue, go back a few years to the pervious city commission and/or the owners of this lot. When Borders and the lofts were built, this lot was to be developed. If not developed by a certain date then a monthly fine was to be imposed. This never happened. It seems now this land will producing taxes, instead of movies and popcorn.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

Who will fill those bedrooms?

This list was impressive but it just might be students. The competition for "golden agers" in Lawrence,Kansas is stiff to say the least mostly because the retirement community is not rushing to Lawrence,Kansas.... it's mostly rhetoric. Downtown bar traffic may not be the winning ticket?

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

It would be nice to know if there is a cap on available corporate welfare aka the free lunch paid for by taxpayers aka tax dollar subsidies which comes from OUR tax dollar wallets?

"Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)"

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

The more educated we become on reckless tax dollar spending the better we can approach city government as to why it is not fiscally responsible. The answer should most always be take the cost of an entire profit making project to the bank NOT to we taxpayers.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

All empty buildings and houses cost tax payers money. Why?

All structures and their owners have demands on city hall/infrastructure. These demands are figured into the city budgets. Personal property taxes do not cover the entire cost of services that which are demanded of city hall.

Yes Compton has many vacancies downtown also throughout Lawrence. Many residential rentals as well. Add these to all other vacancies by other property owners I would say Lawrence,Kansas has a glut of vacancies = nobody in them to pay sales taxes,trash service,water rates etc etc and to cover the cost of all other demands on city hall means increased cost to the rest of us.

For all we know property owner/managers may not be paying property taxes on their vacant locations.

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corduroypants 3 years, 8 months ago

I absolutely believe there's a shortage of rentals for professionals, especially if you want to live downtown. I relocated here from Dallas almost three years ago and found that if you want something that's a little nicer and close to downtown, your choices are slim. Hell, to be across the street from the Pig and have covered parking? Those apartments will be leased in no time.

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tubs_of_love 3 years, 8 months ago

I kinda like it, but you know, eventually Lawrence and Topeka will connect, don't cha think? What blindrabbit said.

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blindrabbit 3 years, 8 months ago

Igby: Ditto that, wish the Police pursued crime with the same fervor as when writing parking tickets on KU football game days.

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blindrabbit 3 years, 8 months ago

Sounds good to me but how long will development like this succeed in the downtown area with shootings, beatings, vagrancies, robberies, assaults, sex crimes and panhandling being reported almost on a weekly basis. The flowers add ambiance but the business owners and City need to do a better job with street and sidewalk cleanliness; butts, gum and trash everywhere.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 8 months ago

Another reason for Lawrence to get out of the civil war era and begin 24/7 paid parking downtown in every lot and every meter.

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HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 8 months ago

The loft apartments downtown are extremely popular and always at full capacity, so that's going to be a big plus for people that want to rent a place downtown. I'd like to have a better explanation from Compton on the nature of his use of the parking facility and how he will compensate the city for his use of the structure.

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pizzapete 3 years, 8 months ago

This is great for small business. Great job taking over downtown buildings, doubling the rents and leaving the buildings vacant until a frachise moves in. We sure need more expensive apartments and more health clubs in Larry. This thing is going to be awesome.

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Snodgrass 3 years, 8 months ago

gvnobas (anonymous) replies… Renewal of what? In an 'urban area' like Lawrence? What have you been smoking? 'Urban renewal' seems to be your buzzword today; I notice you used it in an earlier post and made absolutely no sense.

Here gv, buzz this.

Urban Liberal Gentrification. The area needs to be Gentrified of Liberals.

Is that better buzz?

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 8 months ago

This is the best news I have heard in awhile.

Potentially a home run for the city of Lawrence.

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BruceWayne 3 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Danimal 3 years, 8 months ago

This is another sad day for Lawrence. Lawrence tax payers seem to be handling a large portion of development costs through tax deferments and allowing private developers free reign over public facilities. In fairness to the developers though, it's the fault of the citizens of Lawrence for allowing this hogwash time and time again.

This is doubly sad because this is where movies are shown outdoors in the summer. Additionally, this site was where quite a few Union recruits were massacred by Quantrill's raiders.

I guess the saddest part is seeing Lawrence sell its soul to developers to help build another yuppie condo high-rise in downtown. It's not like the apartments in this building will be at all reasonably priced so as to be available to the average citizen. I'm not saying that Lawrence shouldn't grow, or that growth is bad, I'm just tired of seeing the same people haphazardly throw up eyesores all over town. Seriously, these buildings look like the same cookie-cutter crap that everyone else in America is building. If you're going to ruin downtown, at least do something interesting looking.

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LJ Whirled 3 years, 8 months ago

Like the idea of more people living downtown (less sprawl, less driving, more interaction). Don't like the idea of using public property for private project (more info?).

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igby 3 years, 8 months ago

The city should make this guy clean up his other messes like the Masonic lodge that's laying in ruin all boarded up at 10th and Mass. before they let him dig another hole in the cities downtown area and make another eye sore. It just make good business sense to not let a spoiled brat kid like Compton, continue to make messes when he can't seem to keep his rooms cleaned up. Lawrence really doesn't need any more retail, office or apartments in the downtown area. Over half the spaces now are vacant or going vacant.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 8 months ago

Like the idea, but I don't trust Compton. He is letting the old Masonic Lodge run down, and several other properties. Didn't the city pay for the parking lot at what use to be the Riverfront Mall, and now you can't park in most of the lot, because it's for hotel guests only. Seems like our taxes pay for a lot of private development.

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BigAl 3 years, 8 months ago

gvnobas.... are you serious? Do you think this building will be built by robots? Do you think that local suppliers will NOT want to sell material for this project?

Evidence? Drive by any project being built by First Management and you will see sub-contractor work trucks. Hang around awhile and you will see delivery trucks from local supply houses. Are you really this stupid????? Wow.......

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gvnobas 3 years, 8 months ago

Doug Compton is providing jobs like manna from heaven! Any of you want to show evidence of how many jobs he's created so that we see that it's significant? If any of you think this development wil make even the slightest dent in the economic recession and unemployment in Lawrence you are cattle. It's going to be the same story; most Lawrence residents will have absolutely no need or desire to go into this building. I just have this feeling that it will be filled with law offices, accounting offices, rental agencies and upscale lofts (Boog's attorney friends will be able to afford them).

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 8 months ago

I think the parking garage issue is moot anyway.

I've got $5 that says Compton "accidentally" burns it down.

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Bossa_Nova 3 years, 8 months ago

Boog and Areyouserious' comments make sense. this is good for our city.

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Benjamin Roberts 3 years, 8 months ago

The city's leaders were clearly confused when they approved this building. They had no idea how big it was going to be. They had just finished reviewing the library's 20,000 square foot expansion at a cost of $18,000,000, or $900/sq.ft. (Yeah, I know they are paying for parking.) So, at $10,000,000 divided by $900, this would only be an 11,111 square foot building. Now, divide that by the seven stories and each floor will only be 1587 sq. ft.

1587 square foot is not that big of a foot print. But, 144 sq. ft. apartments are really small. [sarcasm]

Now, on the other hand, if this group can build a seven story apartment and office building for $10M; they could probably build a 12 story library for $18M.

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irvan moore 3 years, 8 months ago

i like infill development, think Doug employs a lot of people and helps our economy. what about the property next to the arts center? wasn't there going to be a hotel there? I don't really care what they do as long as they don't create traffic problems.

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Boog Highberger 3 years, 8 months ago

Regardless of who is behind it, this is a good project. If downtown is going to remain the heart of the city, it has to grow as the city grows, and if we don't build up then we have to build out into the neighborhoods, which nobody wants. If downtown is going to thrive, we need more people living downtown, and it looks like this project will have quite a few units that will be affordable for people who work downtown. The parking garage is currently underutilized, and was built to provide parking for people who shop and live downtown-- this seems like a perfect fit to me. It is my understanding that the lot where the building is going was part of the TIF district that was supposed to pay for the parking garage. I would be curious to know whether the tax revenues from this project will pay into the parking garage TIF .

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RATM 3 years, 8 months ago

That is absurd to oppose or support a building based on party affiliation. People are silly folk.

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BigAl 3 years, 8 months ago

rockchalk. I am a democrat and I support this 100%. Doug Compton is one of the few developers in Lawrence that is trying to provide jobs and promote the city. There are plenty of your Republican buddies that whine and cry about Compton. (and sit around drinking coffee) Besides, to me, this issue isn't political.

Every democrat that I know and have talked with this morning are supporting this building project.

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rockchalk1977 3 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Compton owns the property, his project is within the zoning guidelines and it will generate property and sales tax revenue for the area. This is a win-win for the city and the residents. Also, it will have a coffee shop for all you lib/dems that spend your day blogging on everything under the sun. Thank goodness the hippie city commission is out of power or this great project would just be a pipe dream.

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RATM 3 years, 8 months ago

Next step high paying white collar jobs.

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kantubek 3 years, 8 months ago

i hope this building isnt as ugly as the eyesoread, sheeeesh

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chocolateplease 3 years, 8 months ago

This sounds like an exciting idea, not counting the parking issue which we don't have enough information about. I've often thought it would be great to live downtown, except that I wouldn't want to live in one of the typically older, run-down, or college-partyville places.

I sure hope this will be a nicer apartment building than what is typically found around town. The sound-proofing should be a high priority, I'd imagine. If Compton makes this a high quality project, and maintains it as such, then I imagine many of the single professional people in town will flock to it. This can only be good for the other businesses downtown, right?

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Lindsey Buscher 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm in favor just so long as Compton can finance it with anything and everything that isn't public money. No tax breaks or incentives, no property tax abatements, nothing like that.

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Lindsey Buscher 3 years, 8 months ago

Noweigh, does that moniker describe the weight of your brain?

The "nay-sayers" are the problem? Yes, Compton is an advocate for the latte / import beer elitists, which is why he built the second Malwart in Lawrence.

And we are all still waiting for the "free market" to work its will on the vacant commercial space in the adjacent parking garage. I prefer new development, even if it's a chain to occur downtown as opposed to northwest Lawrence, but this seems like a bit of a far-reaching project.

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slang4d 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm assuming this place will be overpriced so why live there when you can live 2 blocks away in a HOUSE? I lived in a place like this and hated it. I hated living in a cramped apartment building with no yard or driveway and I hated using a parking garage every day. This kind of thing only makes sense when the downtown is so large and sprawling it takes effort to get there from the normal neighborhoods.

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Lindsey Buscher 3 years, 8 months ago

"Compton said the project will be geared to attract a variety of tenant types, including retirees, young professionals, graduate students and downtown employees."

I like the idea of downtown living and this project will go nicely with the revamped Dillons on 18th and Mass, a nice little urban revitalization going on in east-central Lawrence, which is very good for the town. I am still concerned about vacancy though because Compton is just a marketing mouthpiece, trying to say the things people want to hear.

Young professionals won't work in Lawrence because there are no jobs for them or the higher-paying jobs are in the KC-metro. Most grad students cannot afford to live downtown. Most downtown jobs are in the service industry and those types of employees also cannot afford to live downtown. Retirees may appreciate downtown living, but not in a college town with the darned kids and their rap music.

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DeMontfort 3 years, 8 months ago

I thought he looked Botoxed at the very least. Possibly a few nips and tucks as well.

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Noweigh 3 years, 8 months ago

Love the nay-saying here. Let's try it the nay-say way. Compton, don't build this project. Take it somewhere else that deserves it and appreciates it more than downtown Lawrence. Had the nay-sayers had their way a few years ago, the entire west side of the 600 block would still be an absolute eyesore and dump. So would the east side of that street. Go ahead and let downtown rely completely on the true free market economy to work its will. That means allowing strong, powerful and very popular nationwide retailing to develop in areas far away from downtown. Keep new projects like Compton's and real spendable dollars away from downtown and see how long it lasts. Latte's and imported beers are nice but they don't pay the real bills and keep the area vibrant. Someone please get real here.

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Bassetlover 3 years, 8 months ago

It was great to see Doug Compton in front of the camera last night on 6 News explaining this project. He rarely seen or heard from. I think it will be a huge benefit to our downtown district!

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Steve Jacob 3 years, 8 months ago

Just curious, how full are the Hobbs lofts? I kind of like the idea of downtown lofts, but Hobbs prices are crazy.

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spaceshipearth 3 years, 8 months ago

Hey Treanor, design something that is attractive for once.

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Meatwad 3 years, 8 months ago

This will be great for our downtown and great for Lawrence. I much prefer sustainable, vertical, in-fill growth instead of just more and more suburban sprawl. I'm sure the free movie series (which I enjoy too) can find another spot. Regarding the homeless shelter being there-- I'm sure that will never happen, thankfully. Can you imagine the uproar from the neighbors (myself included). That shelter needs to be in a less rewarding locale, so that it doesn't just function to enable people who are addicts. The shelter should be nowhere near prime downtown real estate. I'm so glad it's moving and I'm sure everyone who enjoys our downtown is also.

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Number_1_Grandma 3 years, 8 months ago

You can bet that ANYTHING Compton wants is NOT good for taxpayers. Do you really think he got rich by paying taxes.....

Someone keep an eye on this one. I feel like the taxpayers are about to be hosed again on this one! Let's just hope a mysterious fire doesn't erupt during construction....

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trvlronda 3 years, 8 months ago

what?? A SEVEN story building? What happens when it looks like all the other rental properties in town? Main floor will have a coffee shop and wine bar? Wow, we don't have enough of those in downtown. Lawrence is supposed to be a town/village. Why is there this big fascination with tall buildings?

I love downtown living, but look at taylor hobbs--only for people with money and they don't even have that building full.

Wonder how the city will feel about the structure 5 years after the project is completed? Will Compton be responsible for taking it back down and maybe putting in green space?

I think Compton has plenty of empty buildings already, without adding 7 more stores at the heart of downtown.

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50YearResident 3 years, 8 months ago

It will be nice for the homeless to have a walkway from the garage into a nice warm rental area in the winter.
Free Parking Space, I doubt it, when the City Hall has to lease spaces in the other garage for their employees Compton should not get any "Free Parking" for his renters.

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gccs14r 3 years, 8 months ago

Does Compton own everything?

This project should have to provide its own parking, rather than piggyback on the city garage. Taxpayer dollars should not be subsidizing this project any more than they should have subsidized The Oread.

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jchristine2 3 years, 8 months ago

I have an idea.....lets leave the lot alone, and plant some trees, shrubs, etc. Maybe a few nice park benches. What ever happened to having a little bit of nature? Just because there is an open lot, doesnt mean that you need to instantly think about building something on it.

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Ricky_Vaughn 3 years, 8 months ago

Does Doug Compton remind anyone else of Brad Wesley?

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blindrabbit 3 years, 8 months ago

Require them to park on the top (open) level of the garage; it is never fully utilized.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

I've got nothing against this building being built on that corner, as long as it's done without public subsidies, and they are required to provide on-site parking for at least a significant percentage of the parking needs it's expected to generate.

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Snodgrass 3 years, 8 months ago

Why are the locals against urban renewal? Rejuvenating blighted areas of neighborhoods is a life sustaining event. It creates a wealth of opportunities for locals to prosper from. Emotional people that feed off of their self deprecating tendencys should step back, ride the T, or their bike up the steep hills around town, to burn off some of their fussy energys.

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Godot 3 years, 8 months ago

This will help to justify the $18,000,000 library - which, as I recall, includes plans for additional public parking.

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HalsteadHawk 3 years, 8 months ago

"The building design has won approval from the city’s Historic Resources Commission..." -- Mmmm, bureaucratic blandness. Let me guess, lots of boring stone face? What a waste of labor and building materials.

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Noweigh 3 years, 8 months ago

Snodgrass, totally agree. The taxpayer funded parking garage is rarely full, if ever. All the apologists for downtown are now rejecting the idea of more people, maybe even people with a little buying power, actually living downtown? What hypocrisy. Check out any forward thinking urban development in most cities....it includes condominium living/rretail/office buildings revitalizing and energizing downtown. Build this project, sell it out,and bring even more resources downtown. I'm happy to give up a few "free" parking stalls in exchange for a great new addition to downtown.

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krissypoetry 3 years, 8 months ago

I will miss the free summer movie festival that was shown at this location the past few years. I loved the community aspect of those events and the films.

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Snodgrass 3 years, 8 months ago

The parking garage has been as busy as the T. Now the locals have an opportunity to fill the tax payer paid garage and are steaming mad that it will be used by Compton's customers.

Why are the locals mad that the garage will be finally used? Most of the locals use bikes. So what is their guff all about? Not enough bike stalls?

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Keith 3 years, 8 months ago

"Parking for the apartments will be provided in the existing city-owned parking garage, which will be slightly modified to connect to the new building. "

Hey LJW, we need a little more information here, are the spaces going to be leased or will we be paying taxes to allow the tenants to park?

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 8 months ago

The apartments will be a mix of 10 studio units, 35 one-bedroom units and 10 two-bedroom units. Parking for the apartments will be provided in the existing city-owned parking garage, which will be slightly modified to connect to the new building.

This represents, at a minimum, 65 spaces from the people-owned parking garage. You can bet the demand is for many more. This in addition to the parking I'm sure is being set aside for the retail development.

Where will these spots come from? There are about 500 spots in that garage, and the free spots are quite popular. How will the city keep these new residents out of the 2 hour spots that are intended for the public?

It is confounding how the city can raise such a stink about habitual parking violators and constantly tell people to park in this garage then turn around and suck up as much as 40% of the spaces for a single development.

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BruceWayne 3 years, 8 months ago

will there be a petting zoo? I like Zebras!

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BruceWayne 3 years, 8 months ago

i guess the biggest problem I have with this is the fact that Compton has so many vacant properties all over town. the old sinclair station at 9th and Iowa is a real eyesore as is the masonic temple.

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Pollocaca 3 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence is full of bitter clingers. Selfish bitter clingers are not good for any society. Tea Party Liberals are the biggest source of bitter clingers and they should take care of the homeless and parking needs for residents of the new building.

Parking attendents is good work. American Workers need good work for their multiple family members.

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irvan moore 3 years, 8 months ago

Do you suppose it would be possible to lease one floor of the new building for the homeless shelter?

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

A little corporate welfare I see. That's not exactly what anyone had in mind for the parking garage.

A new slippery slope. Taxpayers will be expected to fork over our local big government tax dollars to others for free parking space.

If my memory serves me well Hobbs-Taylor had to make available some space for metered parking.

Will the tenants of the new living area be expected to buy parking passes or will they occupy the free space constantly? How would the city know whether or not who is occupying the free space?

How was parking for the new tenants justified?

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