Lowe’s, the major home improvement retailer, hopes to build a new store near Sixth Street and Folks Road in northwest Lawrence.
Bill Fleming, a part of the property ownership group, confirmed that plans for an approximately 100,000-square-foot Lowe’s store are being developed for prime ground just north of Sixth Street and just south of Free State High School.
“We just think it will be a great use,” Fleming said. “We need a little bit more power out there at that intersection to make all the businesses in the area work better.”
But the project will require several rounds of approval from City Hall, including rezoning and a change to the city’s comprehensive plan that currently limits how much retail can be located in the area.
Traffic studies, especially for a new right-turn lane on Sixth Street, will be required. Fleming said his group is optimistic the store won’t cause traffic problems.
“If you look at the traffic counts for these type of stores, we’re encouraged by the fact that peak traffic is on Saturdays and Sundays,” Fleming said. “We knew a big concern would be whether it would interfere with the high school traffic, and we do not believe it will.”
The store also would mark a deviation from the group’s original plan of creating a “new urbanism” development that would have a strong mix of retail and residential uses. The Lowe’s store would be located on property previously set aside for residential development.
Reaction from surrounding neighborhoods — many of which fought plans to build the Walmart at Sixth and Wakarusa — was still developing Monday, although some said they expected the Lowe’s project to be less controversial. But concerns about the changing nature of the development were expressed.
“I just remember that this development was going to be our walkable European community,” said Alan Cowles, a board member of the nearby West Lawrence Neighborhood Association. “It really is not going to look anything like that.”