Archive for Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Downtown Eldridge hotel getting a multi-story addition, upgrade

A drawing of the proposed Eldridge expansion.

A drawing of the proposed Eldridge expansion.

September 8, 2010

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Downtown Lawrence’s venerable Eldridge Hotel is set to get a modern, multi-story expansion.

Eldridge Hotel proposing expansion

The historic downtown hotel wants to expand into the empty lot next to the current hotel, building a four-story addition with 16 new rooms and two floors of restaurants and bars. Enlarge video

Architects for the Eldridge, 701 Mass., have submitted plans to City Hall for a four-story expansion on the vacant lot immediately south of the historic hotel.

And Quantrill — who once razed the Eldridge — wouldn’t recognize this one. Plans call for parts of the building to feature a retractable roof and large glass storefronts that swing completely open to create an outdoor café setting.

“We’re pretty proud of some of the features,” said Paul Werner, a Lawrence-based architect who is designing the project. “It definitely will be a bit more modern than the Eldridge.”

Other details include:

• The first and second floors — about 11,000 square feet total — would house restaurant, bar and banquet space.

• The third and fourth stories would include 16 new hotel rooms for the Eldridge, which currently has 48 suites.

• A new elevator to serve both the new and existing parts of the hotel would be constructed.

Werner said the new dining and banquet space likely would accommodate 300 to 400 people. The restaurant — dubbed Nine at the Eldridge — would be an extension of the hotel’s current Ten restaurant.

The restaurant would feature ground floor dining that would open up to Massachusetts Street when the two 15-foot wide glass storefronts are swung open. It also would include second-floor mezzanine dining space beneath the retractable roofs.

“This is the type of space that can attract new events to downtown,” Werner said.

The hotel’s development group — which includes members of Lawrence’s Fritzel family — hopes to start construction this fall.

The project is seeking final approval from the city’s Historic Resources Commission on Sept. 16.

Lynne Braddock Zollner, the city’s historic resources administrator, said the project thus far is moving through the process well.

“I think it is coming together great,” Zollner said. “It has a little bit of a modern flair, but it is respectful of the Eldridge and the spaces around it.”

Comments

Steve Jacob 4 years, 7 months ago

Someday, I'd like to read about a new retail store downtown. I don't think more restaurants really bring anyone new in town, maybe bring more people downtown, sure. All this does is take away money from other restaurants downtown.

Stuart Evans 4 years, 7 months ago

however, the hotel rooms generally do bring in out of town money. and when people stay in town, they're more likely to spend money on food and retail.

LivedinLawrence4Life 4 years, 7 months ago

Thanks to the Fritzel family for investing in Lawrence once again! While others have stopped all local investment and construction, the Fritzel's are investing in quality structures and businesses in Lawrence. Thus, they are increasing the amount of property and sales taxes that they pay to the area which benefits all of Lawrence. Thanks to them for having the guts to invest in Lawrence. We appreciate it and look forward to using the new facility.

LivedinLawrence4Life 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm not a Fritzel or related to them. I simply respect their investment in the Lawrence community. Look up the amount of property taxes they are paying. I'm glad they are willing to invest in the real estate and pay those taxes. I certainly couldn't afford to do so.

pizzapete 4 years, 7 months ago

That sounds like a great use for that space. Wish they would add a pool, too.

Newell_Post 4 years, 7 months ago

Owner after owner after owner has tried to make the Eldridge profitable. Nobody in modern memory has pulled it off. Why?........ Parking.

Stuart Evans 4 years, 7 months ago

the city should close 7th street between VT & NH. turn it into parking and pedestrian areas.

Stuart Evans 4 years, 7 months ago

maybe it's time that lot became an underground parking garage.

Bassetlover 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes, mucho thanks to the Fritzel's! Love what they did to the interior of the new Winfield House. They truly have the Midas touch and this new addition will be terrific.

sherbert 4 years, 7 months ago

It's a great store, but now has less parking. I have an elderly friend who used to love shopping there, she could park in the lot right out back. Now, if one of the half dozen spots out front aren't available, she can't go there, since she can't walk around the block. I've heard her comment on it several times.

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 7 months ago

I hope that the new rooms will have hourly rates.

deec 4 years, 7 months ago

I guess now we know why the city wants a new parking garage by the library.

FarneyMac 4 years, 7 months ago

Yeah!

That empty gravel lot deserves historical recognition. Why won't someone think of the empty gravel lots?!

FarneyMac 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh man, anonymous cheesburger guy, you really zinged me good! That stings pretty bad! "Then try to post a relevant comment." You're quite the wordsmith, friend!

Boston_Charley 4 years, 7 months ago

Maybe from the city, not necessarily from the HRC--remember, HRC voted against The Oread, City Commission overruled. The plan for an Eldridge addition as shown here is very different from that originally presented to the HRC--a lot of discussion, compromise, etc., apparently took place on this one.

bigdave 4 years, 7 months ago

And still no parking!!! Oh joy!!!! Downtown sucks!!!!

disgruntled_employee 4 years, 7 months ago

And the worst part is that the EMPLOYEES had to find out from this very article...good job management!

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

I generally do ok with parking as well.

But the new 15-minute spots make it more difficult, and if we suddenly had a lot more people at the new addition, that would add to the problems.

snappromotions 4 years, 7 months ago

With more room for events, they can attract more people downtown, and more occupants for the rooms. I like this idea.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

And where will all the new traffic park?

deec 4 years, 7 months ago

In the snazzy new parking garage by the library! Unless you folks in Lawrence vote it down...

Bradley Kemp 4 years, 7 months ago

The story says the addition will be modern. The rendering, unfortunately, says otherwise.

Stuart Evans 4 years, 7 months ago

the article also said it would be respectful of the historic buildings around it. all in all, it looks pretty modern to me. not sure what you're looking for.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes, it's obviously not in the style of the Eldridge, which is unfortunate.

Bradley Kemp 4 years, 7 months ago

Well, for one thing, I'm looking for a building without applied ornamentation. I'm looking for a building that is isn't sheathed in a veneer of brick or stone. (Although a brick or stone building is fine, but that's a different matter from a veneer.)

In fact, the proposed addition is very much in the style of the Eldridge, which is unfortunate. An addition to a historic building should not strive to match the historic building; it should instead harmonize, or converse, with the historic building but clearly be a different creation.

I don't deny the Fritzels' or anyone else's right to build what they want; in fact, I appreciate that the Fritzels make solid, well-built buildings. I just wish that their aesthetic standards were as rigorous as their construction standards because we will live with their structures for a long time.

After the debacle of the Oread, could anyone now deny that a taller building with a smaller footprint, and without a risable veneer of stone -- in other words, a modern building -- would be better?

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 7 months ago

The rendering shows no cell phone towers but the Oread didn't show any either.

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 7 months ago

I guess the Fritzel family felt like it needed to out do Compton....again. The ball is now in his court.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

"Someday, I'd like to read about a new retail store downtown. I don't think more restaurants really bring anyone new in town, maybe bring more people downtown, sure. All this does is take away money from other restaurants downtown."

Yes slowly but surely converting downtown to bars and cafes. Yes some years back a city commissioner/developer once said that if new retail sprawl negatively impacted downtown retail shopping they would fill in with bars and cafes.

Prepare thyselves for more empty buildings that cost tax payers money.

No doubt some eating establishments will disappear = no economic gain. After all there are only so many dollars in Lawrence.

The new burger joint in the 700 block did not last long.

gl0ck0wn3r 4 years, 7 months ago

Merrill, how do "empty buildings... cost tax payers money?"

Additionally, you seem to have plenty of good ideas about how businesses should be run downtown - have you tried opening one?

George_Braziller 4 years, 7 months ago

Empty buildings mean loss of business transactions which translates into loss of collected sales tax. The expenses for running a city are still there so it requires alternate taxes and fees to cover the loss. That's how it costs tax payers money.

4 years, 7 months ago

I think they should probably dig up the whole area and move it to 6th and Wak. That is where the City Commission wants all growth now. That way all of them can enjoy downtown feel without slumming it.

dinoman 4 years, 7 months ago

I BELIEVE THAT ANY NEW ADDITION TO THE DOWNTOWN AREA WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED.. BUT I WOULD LIKE THE DOWNTOWN TO BE NEW WITH A LOOK OF THE OLD SO THE VIBE OF THE DOWN TOWN DOSNT CHANGE... THIS IS WHAT SETS US APART FROM OTHER TOWNS IN THE AREA... I FEEL MORE OF A HIPPIE VIBE WITH A TOUCH OF THE HISTORIC. THROWN IN FOR SPICE ALL IN ALL A VERY NICE FLAVOR FOR A DOWN TOWN.. NOW HAVING SAID THAT I TO UNDERSTAND THE NECESSITY TO MAKE A BUSSINESS OPPERATE THAT IN NO WAY SHOULD COMPERMISE THE VALUES OF THE MASSES THE PUBLIC.. WE SHOULD NOT BOW TO THE WANTS OF THE CURRENT FADS.. THEY WONT BE HERE TEN YEARS FROM NOW THE BUILDING WILL BE AND THERE FOR ITS PURPOSE SHOULD REFLECT ALL ASPECTS OF THAT AREA... JUST AS A NEIBORHOOD HOUSING AUTHORITY HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO THE NEIBORHOOD SO TO SHOULD THE CITY HAVE THAT SAME RESPONSIBILITY TO THE DOWNTOWN.. THERE SHOULD NEVER BE AN ULTRA MODERN BUILDING IN THE DOWN TOWN.. FOR INSTANCE LOOK AT THE APT BULIDING A FEW BLOCKS AWAY TO THE EAST LOOKS LIKE IT COULD HAVE BEEN BUILT YEARS AGO BUT WITH NEW MATERIALS.. THAT IS WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE IN OUR DOWNTOWN.. AND OH BY THE WAY ISNT THERE SPACE STILL AVAIL. IN THAT APT BUILDING??? ALL IN ALL GREAT IDEA BUT YET AGAIN BAD BAD IMPLEMENTATION SOMETHING LIKE THIS SHOULD BE APROVED BY LOTS OF PEOPLE AND BEFORE BREAKING GROUND THERE SHOULD BE A TRUE NEED TO ADD ANOTHER BUILDING IN THAT AREA..

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

There is mostly empty space in the Hobbs-Taylor project.

Especially commercial space.

9070811 4 years, 7 months ago

Finally, a project that actually sounds great. The lot has been vacant for a long time. The new restaurant feature sounds very European. Though, I'd prefer that it be used for some kind of retail purpose. sigh too many restaurants are downtown.

I think the best solution for downtown is to block off the 700 to 1000 blocks for pedestrian walkways. Downtown would be a lot more attractive and much safer for families. And of course...more retail. Two additional parking garages would be needed. They could model them after the one on NH. It's not an ugly parking garage by any means. Parking garages also mean a parking fee...and God knows this city needs some revenue.

said_zeppelin 4 years, 7 months ago

I agree that Mass street needs more retail to pull more than the bar and restaurant crowd on a regular basis. Sadly Lawrence often gets too caught up in trying to fill the street with local merchants and do not seem to do enough to attract national chains with the brand recognition that can make the area more of a destination for retail. Even though there are quite a few national chains on Mass many more have not been able to justify the investment, or have not been able to make it work (Abercrombie, Eddie Bauer, Maurices) based on the current metrics of the area.

This is an area of Lawrence that differentiates it from other communities. Many people that visit Lawrence love the look and feel of the area. It will take coordination of the city and the landlords to find a strategy to keep a balance or I believe it is destined to be mostly food and drink.

snoops 4 years, 7 months ago

What a great idea! That vacant lot is an eyesore. This is going to be lovely.

nytemayr 4 years, 7 months ago

Ok, but what about parking? Adding 300 to 400 people downtown without increasing parking doesn't thrill me much.

The plans looked ok but the developer should think bigger and more rooftop space planning.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

Budgets are based on projected tax dollar receipts which are projected based on number of square feet of retail space. If all buildings are not occupied and producing maximum projections government can over estimate and over spend.

Empty buildings do not employ anyone thus no spending thus no sales tax from that spending

Empty buildings do not generate sales tax dollars which are necessary to run government

Empty buildings may not be generating property taxes IF local government does not make property owners pay up.

Empty rental properties may also not be paying property taxes IF local government does not make property owners pay up.

Empty buildings are not paying their way in the event street,water or sewer repairs come about. It cost money to run city hall, fire department,law enforcement,install new water lines etc etc.

Taxpayers cannot afford empty buildings. When tax dollars come up short and the city does not want to raid their savings accounts who do they come to?

The bottom line is no matter what, there are only so many retail dollars in lawrence,Kansas and more new retail does not magically create more retail dollars. The available dollars are spread thinner and thinner as one new cafe pulls dollars from existing cafe's,as one hotel pulls business from existing hotels,as one department store pulls dollars from existing department stores = bingo economic displacement NOT economic growth = no new economic growth which is contrary to the logic behind new development.

Bring all KU home games back to Lawrence,Kansas. Taxpayers need all the help WE can get!

hail2oldku 4 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like a great addition to downtown, but I'm wondering how the retractable roof and fully opening storefronts will come into play with the indoor smoking ban.

George_Braziller 4 years, 7 months ago

"And Quantrill — who once razed the Eldridge — wouldn’t recognize this one." What a dumb reference.

Well he also wouldn't recognize the current Eldridge House because it wasn't built until 60 years after the raid . . . nor would he recognize the one it replaced which was built to replace the one that was burned in the raid.

friendlyjhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Lew retires and the Eldridge gets more space....................................................coincidence?

justoneperson 4 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone remember the glory days when there was a park in that lot....I miss that

Amy Heeter 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes we used to have picnics there when we shopped. We would pick up lunch at a local place like Aimee's. Those were fun times. I don't like this new plan , it doesn't look very historic to me. Like someone said above money talks.

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