Archive for Friday, December 17, 2010

Town Talk: Dillons releases renderings of Mass. Street proposal; Farmland cleanup about to begin; bank sues Lawrence business group over Topeka deal; Hawks Pointe Apartments sold

Renderings previously proposed for a new Dillons store at 1740 Massachusetts Street.

Renderings previously proposed for a new Dillons store at 1740 Massachusetts Street.

December 17, 2010


News and notes from around town:

• Dillons officials now are showing what the exterior of their proposed store at 1740 Mass. will look like. In a site plan filing with City Hall, the company has submitted these renderings. As way of orientation, the top rendering shows the main entrance to the store, which will be on its north end. The second rendering is the west elevation and is the view you’ll see from Massachusetts Street. The third rendering (see the smaller photo to the side of this story) is a view from the south. The fourth rendering is a view from New Hampshire Street.

Renderings previously proposed for a new Dillons store at 1740 Massachusetts Street.

Renderings previously proposed for a new Dillons store at 1740 Massachusetts Street.

As previously reported, the company plans to demolish its existing store on the site. The new store will be built to stretch across the lot from east to west, instead of north to south as the current store does. The main parking for the building will be on the northern end of the lot. The company met with neighbors about the project in November.

The site plan confirmed several details from that meeting, and also added a few more. The company is still proposing a pharmacy drive-through lane on the east edge of the building, which would take its access off New Hampshire Street. A loading dock area also would be on the east side. The store would include what the company hopes will be a Massachusetts Street-style café that will be on the western edge of the building. In the renderings, the café is the two-story section part of the building. The site plan shows the area in front of the café having a special colored sidewalk installed and outdoor seating. The plans also call for a new pathway from main entrance to Babcock Place, a public housing facility that is just north of the site.

Overall, the new store will be 43,433 square feet, up from the current store’s size of 32,089 square feet. The company estimates the cost of construction at $2 million.

City planning staff members currently are reviewing the plans. That review is including concerns brought up by neighbors about the amount of traffic that will be on New Hampshire Street due to the pharmacy drive-through and the loading dock area. Store officials, in the site plan, indicated the amount of delivery truck traffic on New Hampshire Street should drop by about 50 percent compared to the situation today. That’s because the new store also will have a loading dock area that can be accessed off Massachusetts Street.


A Lawrence-based contractor is being recommended to get the job of cleaning up the buildings and other debris at the former Farmland Industries site. City staff is recommending city commissioners award the job to Lawrence-based R.D. Johnson Excavating. Johnson’s proposal is for $432,000, although the city’s cost may drop depending on how much salvageable steel is recovered at the site. Johnson’s proposal calls for the company to keep the first 1,500 tons of steel, valued at about $180,000, but the city and the company would split proceeds from any steel totals above 1,500 tons. If commissioners approve the proposal at their Tuesday evening meeting, work could begin by the end of January. Check back later for more details.


A Topeka development group led by Lawrence businessmen Doug Compton and Bill Newsome is now being sued by its lender. According to an article in the Topeka Capital-Journal, CoreFirst Bank and Trust has filed a lawsuit in Shawnee County District Court seeking repayment of promissory notes that are in default related to the group’s College Hill redevelopment project near Washburn University. According to the article, the bank is seeking $22 million from the group.

The project has drawn attention in Lawrence because Compton is leading a separate development group that is building a $10 million, seven-story building at Ninth and New Hampshire streets. The Lawrence project is seeking incentives from City Hall that include some reserved parking spaces in the adjacent public parking garage, and more than $200,000 worth of public infrastructure improvements in the area. City Manager David Corliss told me this week that he still doesn’t have a timeline for bringing the incentives issue back to the Lawrence City Commission. He said he’s reviewing a recently completed staff report that details how heavily the Ninth and New Hampshire Street parking garage is currently used.

• In interesting news from the real estate filings at the Douglas County Courthouse, one of the country’s largest apartment owners has made another investment in Lawrence. A group affiliated with Campus Apartments, the largest privately held student housing company in the country, has bought Hawks Pointe Apartments, 1421 W. Seventh St., according to both real estate filings and the company’s website. The new owners, which bought the properties under a New York corporation, Vesper Hawks Pointe 1 and 2 LLC, filed mortgages totaling $12.4 million on two of the three Hawks Pointe properties. The company, though, owns all three of the Hawks Pointe properties, according to a representative at the local office. The changeover, which is not expected to create many changes for residents, became official Dec. 1. Aspen Square Management, a Massachussetts-based company, had owned the apartment complex since 2004.

In a sign of how global business has become, money from the government of Signapore likely was behind the purchase. Campus Apartments — which also owns the Lawrence apartment complexes of Aberdeen, Apple Lane, Alvadora, and the Campus Court at Naismith — has a $1.1 billion partnership with the Government of Singapore’s real estate investment arm to fund purchases of apartment complexes.

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TopJayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Well, now we have something in common with Lawrence. We got Compton'd.

history 7 years, 6 months ago

Top jayhawk.

Never mind the fact that those investors used their own money and invested to clean up the worst part of Topeka. Anyone that takes a risk like that does not deserve a dumb comment like yours. Envy and ingnorance-not a good combination!!

Danimal 7 years, 6 months ago

I shudder to think of the millions in tax revenue Compton and his ilk have bilked the city out of.

history 7 years, 6 months ago

Sam Shaw. I dont know Doug Compton but I assume you are a shining example of good citizenship. Compton donates money to several great causes (boys and girls club, humane society ets.) How about you? This is not about Compton, its about developers and you my friend must be new to this! Yes, he develops and with that comes some Risk, Topeka is and was a victim of greater issues, Like the downturn in the economy. If he would have his way everyone in that area would have benefited from the new buildings and safer neighborhood.

geekin_topekan 7 years, 6 months ago

dang whirl! One handed typing is no small feat. Who's that sitting next to you?

Hey. Don't do that!!...Stop.


Terry Sexton 7 years, 6 months ago

The Dillon's plan looks sound. As a property owner in the neighborhood, I think an upgrade is always good. Seem's like what is there now has worked pretty well, so if they wanna improve on that, I say go for it.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Compton and group should provide for their own parking. If not taxpayers could get swindled into providing parking for other establishments as well.

Odd that financing could be provided before entire plan was on the table and approved.

"Important people" must be assuming Compton and associates will get their way in spite of the fact " local big government tax dollars " were not part of the initial plan introduced to city hall. This apartment dwelling could easily occupy over 100 spaces. Perhaps this is why the library was forced into funding a two tier parking facility???

ModerateOne 7 years, 6 months ago

This is a silly comment merrill. The taxpayers currently provide all of the parking downtown, including the parking garage. The development at 9th & NH will alone pay taxes to the community that dwarf the cost of the parking spaces it seeks.

Danimal 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm willing to bet that as a percentage of his income he's paying far less than the average man on the street. I'm not a fan of class warfare, but it's time that we all stopped getting raped by the wealthy robber barons that are taking over our country.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Since the city has been run by conservatives for the majority of that time, with a small foray into liberal leadership, I'd suggest that the problems are more correctly attributed to many years of conservative leadership.

history 7 years, 6 months ago

Number 1 grandma

There is no cause to call someone an Idiot. This is a civil discussion and I would hope all of us can have our own oppinion without name calling.

I dont know Compton, seen him a couple of times, but dont know him. I will say that most he gets bagged a lot for no reason. he has done a lot for this city. Not all is bad, but you people have decided that he is the bad guy no matter what. He is investing some of his own money and his partners are as well. I think that building will be a great addition to downtown. Thanks to all that believe in downtown and are willing to invest.

Jake Hess 7 years, 6 months ago

I agree with Merrill, in that it's too bad the building will snarf up what will probably amount to a large portion of private parking in the NH garage, a facility which serves us well. The same thing happened at the Riverfront with Marriott. Downtown parking problems will inevitably persist.

I do like the development though, and it's always great to see new investment in downtown.

VTHawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Singapore is one of the nicest/wealthiest cities on the planet. I would live there in a second.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Have you ever been to NY?

It's a world class city, and offers a tremendous number of exciting possibilities.

Of course, it has downsides as well, like overcrowding, etc.

Every place I've ever lived, and I grew up in NY, has positive and negative attributes.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

The other way to look at that is that you don't need a car, and there are very good public transportation systems.

You're entitled to your preferences, of course - I was just pointing out that every place has upsides and downsides.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

They're not vaguely interested in doing that, so I think you're safe here.

What ideas exactly do you mean though?

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

People from NYC aren't "foreigners" of course.

And, most of them don't even know where KS is, and have less interest in what goes on here.

corduroypants 7 years, 6 months ago

And they don't want your hillbilly ideas in their city either, so we'll call it even.

Frank A Janzen 7 years, 6 months ago

It would be nice if Dillon's could put some "fake" windows in, something that doesn't look like bricks.

cellogrl 7 years, 6 months ago

What I figured is if they only have 2 mortgages, they just bought the other one outright. Don't think anyone's in trouble or they wouldn't have bought it in the first place.

jmadison 7 years, 6 months ago

Dillon's can build a 43000 sq ft store for $2 million dollars. The city builds a library for $13 million. Why the discrepancy?

somedude20 7 years, 6 months ago

Good point! Dillon's money comes from their pockets so they will do it right. That dreadful library's money is coming from ours so they can spend away. Does not sound so hot to say look at the $18 million dollar grocery store but saying look at the $18 million dollar library sounds like someone cares

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

$4-5 million of that is for the parking.

irvan moore 7 years, 6 months ago

kudos to Dillons for this investment in our neighborhood.

history 7 years, 6 months ago

Wow, ignorance is a bliss. I wish I could walk in your shoes for a day. LOL. LMAO

history 7 years, 6 months ago

Have you seen who is using the entire first level of that garage. The city is. Right now the taxpayers have build a garage that is mainly used by the city staff. I am sure that is Compton's fault as well. WOW

flyin_squirrel 7 years, 6 months ago

Dillons store looks good but it is going to look terrible facing North. And how about the businesses (liquor store), that will now be BEHIND Dillons.... So if you want to go to Dillons, you go in one entrance, and if you want to go to the liquor store, you have to go back out on Mass St. and turn into another entrance. GREAT PLANNING HAVING MULTIPLE ACCESS POINTS!

If they are going to build a store, make it face Mass St. (West). Why would you funnel traffic into the neighborhood, as well as have apartments attached to your parking lot? Anyone coming from the East will just drive through the neighborhood rather than getting on Mass St.. Last thing Lawrence needs is another goofy intersection pushing traffic through the neighborhoods.

Terry Sexton 7 years, 6 months ago

I like the north facing plan. It's the most attractive option with parking, then residential to the north. More commercial to the south, it all flows nicely. I bet they gonna green it up bigtime. The landscaping will look very nice is my bet.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Uh oh,

Sounds like you're advocating some sort of city planning and involvement in private business decisions.

Keith 7 years, 6 months ago

Oh, I see, liberals are jealous of folks who make more than 100k a year, but you're not at all a jackass for characterizing the Mass St. Dillons shoppers as welfare recipients. Troll away and I do mean away, far away.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Apparently they think it's a good location for them to make money.

As do many other businesses when deciding where to locate, like Lowe's which you've praised for their desired location.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years, 6 months ago

"Seems like the one on 23rd isn't that far away."

It's only close if you're driving. If you're elderly, walking, and carrying your groceries all the way to Babcock Place that's a very long ways.

Boston_Charley 7 years, 6 months ago

The 23rd Street one is significantly farther away if you don't have a car.

MyName 7 years, 6 months ago

You ask for a legitimate reason why people would want to shop there instead of 23rd, then you make some BS comment when it is given. There's a retirement complex right across the street to the north and the student ghetto is on the other side of Mass. St. That's a large group of potential customers who don't necessarily drive.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years, 6 months ago

I bow to your innate superiority in that you are young and not disabled.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 6 months ago

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

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Not only are they "keeping it going", they are investing quite a lot in an expansion at that location.

Either they're idiots, or you're mistaken and they'll do well there - we'll see.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Since it's up to the business, and they make their decisions based on the sacred profit motive, what business is it of yours?

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

And, if you want to buy a house that is conveniently located for shopping, etc. you're free to do so.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

"Sure would be nice if I had a store right next to me so I wouldn't have to be bothered by car ownership".

Make up your mind.

Andrew Michael 7 years, 6 months ago

because you went down there at night on a Friday, when every college student is out getting drunk. During the day, during the week, it is nearly empty, which is when the spots would need to be utilized.

I have no preference really, just sharing what I know.

The spaces as I understand are going to be used for employees, not residents, but I could be mistaken. The building on 7th and NH will be for the FM headquarters, not an apartment building that it has been referred to.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

The spaces were specifically requested for residents, not employees, from the last article I read on the subject.

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

I am so glad that Dillons is investing in the Massachusetts Street site. It serves a lot of people. I was worried it would close. If closed, it would drive more traffic to Hw 10 or hw 40. both are overloaded. I hope some grocery will invest in North Lawrence, they need one there.

Neighbor hood grocery stores and neighborhood schools are resources that keep neighborhoods strong.. If one wants to only look at economic strength, good grocery stores, good schools help keep area's real estate attractive. Losing neighborhood schools and services such as grocery or public transportation can blight an area. Keeping neighborhoods strong and healthy is protecting the tax base. Once the old farmland site is cleaned and put back to work, we can attract industry. I feel a little optimistic. Now don't get on and spout about how there isn't any hope. I like imagining, people living in our neighborhood getting off work, stopping at the store, their kids going to a school that isn't half way across town.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

If they choose to have a store that isn't profitable, that's their choice - it seems like an odd one to me.

And, if it's still true, it wouldn't make much sense to invest a massive amount of money in an expansion like this.

Still speeding and texting?

And, I do support local stores for that very reason, as do many others.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

I should have been more specific - I suppose "neighborhood" store would have been more correct.

But, yes, I also shop at the Merc as well.

The point was that many people who desire to have a store in their neighborhood do in fact patronize those stores to support them.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

If you want a store on Mass, then shop there - was your previous comment.

My point is, again, that many people do so for that very reason.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 6 months ago

I've tried to read most of what you've put up here over the last couple of days; and all I have figured out is that you're a smug jerk. You seem to refer to anyone who disagrees with you as a liberal, welfare recipient, hippie, and just about any other thing that you assume is derogatory. Your perspective on just about everything is extremely black and white; although life is never really that simple.
I read you go on and on and on about Doug Compton's greatness and the way he spends money in this town, yet you found the time to go off on Dillon's for remodeling a store that has stood the test of time and serves thousands of citizens. Who are you to decide where Dillon's should make changes to their business model?
I won't respond to you again, about anything, because I think that your narrow point of view is nauseating at best.

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

ho ho ho I think companies should lose money? Ignorance alert. . I know nonintellectual is it in certain circles, like bash the egghead types but you are carrying it too far. You don't have to say stupid things to make your chops as an anti-intellectual. well, maybe you do. I am sure you really believe it, that Dillons is not going to make it on Mass. You have it , the secret inside scoop. mmm I am so impressed. And another brave stand against fruit. All liberals are alike and we all are against business and we wouldn't think that growing population density would effect rather a grocery store would make it in N. Lawrence. you claim liberals all want business to fail. You aren't fit to lick a liberal shoes. this is the support the small business persons gets from the gaggag tea party conservatives.You think that supporting businesses is granting the mega rich tax breaks. Small and medium businesses have been assaulted by the conservatives.

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't call anyone who disagree with me names. I was calling you names. You said I thought companies should lose money. , I was saying what you said was amazingly palining stupid, I say it as a liberal, a reader, a mother, a sister, a small business person, a child of business owners, a thinking human being, a Kansan,.as a resident of Douglas county, in any hat I wear. as someone who washes the dishes, all these people think you are just shining on. real stupid. I doubt if all liberals agree with me, many of them like dumb dogs. I love business to make money, When I was an employee I did one of the most important thing to make a business work. I showed up. As an owner I made it work and , I showed up. You are not fit to lick my shoes.

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

in case you are still palining, acting real stupid, I know Dillons is Kroger corp, I do believe businesses should make money. I consider your personal remark about me not wanting a business to make money an example of stupid, creepy stupid insult. I realize most tea baggers have had 9 to 5 jobs, never ran a business, but they know how to do it. sure. last a minute. They should get out of the way, quit paving the road for mega corporations with the sweat of small business people.

jafs 7 years, 6 months ago

Your description of both the consumer and the business end of transactions is exactly why we need government to provide a variety of helpful social programs.

Neither your consuming ideas nor the ideas of a business will do so - you're looking for the cheapest prices, businesses are trying to make money.

kernal 7 years, 6 months ago

Chad, is Town Talk only an on-line column? Some folks in town are wondering why online articles about Compton's College Hill project in Topeka aren't showing up in the printed LJW.

ralphralph 7 years, 6 months ago

It'd cost you 50-cents to find out ...

kernal 7 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the hinthint, ralphralph.

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

You said something about me, directly to me and that puts you in position to make remarks about how business has no responsibility to customers or community.I don't agree with your definition of business. Please spare me your lessons about how business works, with no responsibility except cash flow. What is your business? Mugging?, id theft. sounds like you associate being a business with being a crook or cheat. NO thanks. Your claim that a business should play no role in the community is not one I recognize. Has no obligation to customers. Many businesses don't cheat costumers or employees and pay their bills. We aren't out to cheat or steal our way to the black. When a business does that it isn't a business, it is a crook using business as a front.

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

Whrly the imaginative, "By the way, I'm glad you understand the point of a business-- the only point-- is to make money. They don't exist ... to serve their customers... making money is their only purpose."

Once again you claim I think some some bizarre,creepy stand The only way a business has no purpose or responsibility to serve their customers is if they don't have any. Of course that is actually my opinion, seems you feel different. Good luck.

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

If it is smart-alecky to correct your silly remarks making false claims about what I think, I will own that smart-alecky hat all day, if you say it is emasculating for me to correct your statements about what I think,. I can handle that. Those names are just fine, I don't feel like letting you lie about my stands, it hurts my feelings, I take it personal and just lash out.

pace 7 years, 6 months ago

Oh i am very sensitive. If you attribute your word to me, or make a statement about what I think about something and you are wrong (especially if they are stupid) I tell you off.

kernal 7 years, 6 months ago

Your last sentence pretty much says it all.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years, 6 months ago

I looked up Dillon's on the Fortune 500. # 23: Kroger CEO: David B. Dillon The nation's largest grocer operates more than 2,400 food stores under two dozen banner names, including City Market, Dillons, Fred Meyer, and Ralphs.

I tend to think that the managment of a Fortune 500 company is probably more business savy than any of us, and they are remodelling their store for reasons that seem good to them.

If you don't like what they're doing, I think you should sell your stock in The Kroger Co. (KR - NYSE)

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 6 months ago

I do not see a monorail stop. Also, where are the wind turbines and solar panels?

LivedinLawrence4Life 7 years, 6 months ago

Compton being sued for $22 Million? Is this going to bring him down or is it not as bad as it seems? What are the details of the lawsuit? Have they not been making their payments?

LivedinLawrence4Life 7 years, 6 months ago

I answered those questions by reading the Topeka Capital Journal Article.

LivedinLawrence4Life 7 years, 6 months ago

Developers behind Topeka's College Hill redevelopment project have until later this month to respond to a lawsuit seeking more than $22 million that was filed in Shawnee County District Court by CoreFirst Bank and Trust.

CoreFirst, which provided more than $19.8 million in 2006 to members of Washburn-Lane Parkway Renovations, is seeking the money as a means to collect on loans and interest provided to the developers. Named in the lawsuit are Steven Roth, Douglas Compton, William Newsome and Henry McClure, who CoreFirst said guaranteed repayment of loans through various mortgages, assignment of contracts, rents and leases, security agreements, and other filings.

The lawsuit, which was filed Nov. 2, states the developers are in default on promissory notes due May 15, "but have not been paid by any party." CoreFirst said it filed a demand for payment Sept. 24, but "despite the demand" the developers "refused to pay amounts due under the notes."

CoreFirst is now seeking about $19.5 million for the principal amount of the loans and more than $2.4 million for interest and late fees, as of Nov. 1. The bank also is seeking additional interest accruing at a rate of $9,777 per day after Nov. 1, or about $430,193 as of Wednesday.

Jake Hess 7 years, 6 months ago

Wow. Sounds like the Compton group's in trouble... seems very irresponsible, but I suppose they have tricks up their sleeve. I also suspect there's more to the story of College Hill. There has to be a good reason they haven't entered repayment.... is there?

Henry_the_liberal 7 years, 5 months ago

How are they possibly going to fit this store in the current lot. That's what I'm interested to see. S'long Ghetto Dillon's!

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