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Archive for Saturday, February 27, 2010

Orthodontist’s ‘labor of love’ refashions a city landmark


The Arensberg’s Building, 825 Mass., is in the process of being remodeled into three condos on the top floor and retail space below.

The Arensberg’s Building, 825 Mass., is in the process of being remodeled into three condos on the top floor and retail space below.

February 27, 2010

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Arensberg's building undergoes remodel

The old Arensberg's building in downtown Lawrence is being remodeled, and the owners are donating the extra materials to Habitat ReStore. Enlarge video

Dr. Dan Ranjbar owns the Arensberg Building, 825 Mass., and is in the process of remodeling all three floors into condos and retail space. He was drawn to the property because of the large window view of Mass. Street from the third floor.

Dr. Dan Ranjbar owns the Arensberg Building, 825 Mass., and is in the process of remodeling all three floors into condos and retail space. He was drawn to the property because of the large window view of Mass. Street from the third floor.

On the street

What kind of retail business would you like to see in the former Arensberg’s Shoes space?

Some sort of specialty store, a clothing store or a toy store.

More responses

It’s been a bakery, a Montgomery Ward and most recently a shoe store. Now a Lawrence resident has grand plans for the historic Arensberg’s building on Massachusetts Street.

“I walked in and when I went to the top floor and saw these huge windows overlooking Mass., I just fell in love with it,” said Dr. Dan Ranjbar, who bought the 18,000-square-foot building in July.

Now Ranjbar, an orthodontist by day, has begun the process of remodeling the building at 825 Mass. He hopes to convert the ground floor into two separate retail spaces and build three condos on the top floor, giving the entire building a facelift.

“It’s kind of a labor of love for me,” Ranjbar said. “I want to do something that’s kind of a thank you to Lawrence. It’s going to be incredible.”


The Arensberg’s Building, 825 Mass., is in the process of being remodeled into three condos on the top floor and retail space below.

The Arensberg’s Building, 825 Mass., is in the process of being remodeled into three condos on the top floor and retail space below.

Ranjbar and his contractor are also giving back in another way. When they started the process of gutting the building a couple of weeks ago, they decided to try to salvage as much as they could, including fixtures, floorboards and fluorescent lighting.

They donated the items to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 708 Conn., which then sells the materials to raise funds to build more Habitat homes.

“It’s easier to take a sledge hammer and plow through it, but if they can re-use it, it makes a whole lot of sense to do that,” Ranjbar said.

So last week, crews from the Habitat Re Store began hauling truckload after truckload of materials away, including more than one ton of scrap metal they were able to recycle.

Ranjbar and the ReStore said it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

“We depend on businesses, contractors and individuals to donate those goods,” ReStore Manager Michele Johnson said. “Also, all of those things could have been going to the landfill, so we’re diverting tons and tons every year from the landfill.”

Ranjbar hopes to have the renovation complete in the next three or four months, and although he’s been approached by bars and restaurants interested in the space, he’s convinced retail is the best use for it.

“I’ve been here for 15 years, and Lawrence has been wonderful for me,” Ranjbar said. “If I can improve on what’s going on downtown, this is my way of saying thanks.”

Comments

trvlronda 4 years, 9 months ago

Bravo Dr. Ranjbar! He is my orthodontist and I am proud. I shopped around for an orthodontist, and he is the best. Initially, I didn't like going to the west side ...but I heard about his investments back into Lawrence. The price for the services he provides are competiive, and he is giving back to the community that allows him to make his living. Excellent model of good business.

yellowhouse 4 years, 9 months ago

He has done a wonderful things for this community. Most go unnoticed.

He reached out and saved a fatherless child in the Bigs program from a life of disfigurement. He did it because he has a big heart! It was a long term commitment and he gladly fulfilled it.

Its too bad there aren't more people like this man in the world!

Thank-you Doctor Ranjbar!

redmorgan 4 years, 9 months ago

Dr. Ranjbar was my orthodontist. Thanks so much for giving back to the community!

Peaty Romano 4 years, 9 months ago

Kudos to Dr. Ranjbar. He is the orthodontist for both of my kids and trvlronda said it best.

I hope everything works out as planned, sound like a good he's going about it the right way.

Melissa Padgett 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Dr. Ranjbar.

I agree. Retail is the way to go for a better downtown Lawrence.

matchbox81 4 years, 9 months ago

I just hope that this makes sense financially for the good doctor, and that the 2 retail stores and 3 floors of condos will generate enough revenue to sustain the investment without being subsidized by the owner. That way, 5, 10 years from now it will still be a viable business. I think the Casbah is a perfect example of what happened when someone "followed their heart" without looking at the business model. It was a neat little store for what, 1 year, and then closed, contributing to the high turnover rate in downtown Lawrence. Hopefully this won't be the same.

Anne Bracker 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't personally know Dr. Ranjibar, but I see his name all over the Lawrence. Look in a charity fundraising event program and you'll find him listed as a donor/sponsor. Check out a list of people involved in community programs - yup, he's on those lists, too. Sports...arts...just about everything. He obviously supports a wide variety of community efforts, and this looks like yet another fantastic show of community support by Dr. Ranjibar.

madmadsmom 4 years, 9 months ago

toe, this doctor went through 4 years of dental school (after college I must add) and probably 24-30 months of orthodontic school. He does not charge too much for straight teeth. He is probably the best orthodontist in town.

Thanks, Dr. Ranjbar!

madmadsmom 4 years, 9 months ago

toe, this doctor went through 4 years of dental school (after college I must add) and probably 24-30 months of orthodontic school. He does not charge too much for straight teeth. He is probably the best orthodontist in town.

Thanks, Dr. Ranjbar!

jumpin_catfish 4 years, 9 months ago

So providing jobs and increasing the tax base is bad!? Which is what Doug does too.

ASBESTOS 4 years, 9 months ago

Judging by the basic "knock it down and demo" as cheaply as possible, I wonder if for the worker's health sake, and for the sake of any children that are going to be living in condos when they are finished, I wonder if they checked that old building and the old building materials for asbestos and Lead Based Paint. Plaster and lath in Kansas especially in an old downtown commercial building usually contain asbestos, and the paint of the time of the construction was most likely hot.

It is regulated federally, even though KDHE does a very poor job enforcing those federal rules delegated to the State. Providing for jobs and a tax base is good, and Kansas should start by using Environmental Consultants to operate within existing OSHA, EPA, and KDHE laws when doing basic construction. I say expand in the that industry. Funny how all the greenies forget about the basic toxins that directly affect human health, but "dress the project up" by stating it is "Green". What a bunch of BS.

In April of 2010, on he 22nd, the new Lead Renovator Rule goes into effect. and any company disturbing more than 6 square feet inside, or 20 square feet outside in a Residences or Child Occupied Facility build prior to 1978, needs to be certified by EPA as a "Certified Lead Renovation Firm", and will have to use lead safe processes, check for lead in the paint and do a cleaning verification. The State rule may become more protective. Additionally, the Firm must have a "Certified renovator" on site, and must train all the workers in Lead Safe Work Practices.

Yes that means Condos. That means that this crew needs to get all that work done before April 22, 2010.

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

Condos. Ok, where are the people who will live there going to park their vehicles?

moveforward 4 years, 9 months ago

Ranjbar is good, a smart business person (in a very lucrative industry), and a really nice fellow. But LarryNative is right. This is a smart investment... nothing more... spoken intensions aside.

corduroypants 4 years, 9 months ago

@George_Braziller - I've lived downtown for over 2 years. It's actually not horrible to park if you use the long-term lots.

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

Then maybe I should buy a permit for one of the long-term lots so I have a place to park. I've lived on Rhode Island for 17 years. The reason you can find a place to park is because everyone parks on the residential streets for 10-20 hours at a time. Bob Shumm doesn't even use the long-term lots.

AnnaUndercover 4 years, 9 months ago

So glad Dr. Ranjbar recycled all those materials. Good going!

4 years, 9 months ago

Coming from from a guy who works in the "re-sale" business I really feel for the ReStore folks. Getting donations of that magnitude can be a back-breaker. That's a lot of work! Kudos to Habitat for Humanity and all their employees and volunteers. As for the good doctor all I have to say is, "Do you know how hard it is to find a good arcade in town?" I don't know what kind of return you could expect on that but it would be nice to have a place for the young folks to go.

youarewhatyoueat 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm so happy that space is being used by a community member and not a corporation. I wish the space well, and the man behind it.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

Hey Dr. Ranjbar, Some ideas for your retail building.

  • Lands End
  • Sony Style
  • Apple Store
  • Lego Store - These are stores that stock past products,new products and products that cannot be purchased anywhere else. These are great stores for all ages. The nearest one is St Louis.

alm77 4 years, 9 months ago

Larry, if I'm reading the article correctly, he's giving back by a) recycling and b) preferring it be retail space. Yes, he's supposed to make money at it, and that's a good thing too.

chocolateplease 4 years, 9 months ago

Dr. Ranjbar is a class act who contributes alot to our community--- I just saw a donation he made to a local school fundraiser, and it's not the first time. We're lucky to have him here.

I hope he can inspire some other local business owners to give back (or continue doing so) like he has. Not only is he a great orthodontist; he's a great person.

Thank you, Dr. Ranjbar!

fewopinionsshared 4 years, 9 months ago

I know Dr Ranjbar and know that this is more than an investment to him. He's truly excited about making it a beautiful place for downtown. You'll see LarryNative, it'll be gorgeous!!

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