Downtown Mass. database ( .PDF )
Downtown owners discussion
The Journal-World held a roundtable with a group of downtown property owners earlier this summer. They discussed the changing face of downtown. Read their comments in this related story.
OK, so maybe we’re not great at geometry, because undoubtedly Lawrence’s public square is not a square at all.
Massachusetts Street — specifically, six straight-as-an-arrow blocks as it runs through downtown — has long been the city’s gathering place.
Sidewalk diners, a rooftop Santa, streetside flower planters, out-of-town license plates in search of that elusive parking space. Then there are the people. Honk for hemp, a guitar-picker with an overturned hat, a parade of grocery cart-pushers, a moped-riding go-fer whom everyone calls Toad.
It is easy to forget that Massachusetts Street isn’t just a public carnival. It’s also a real estate development. Those 19th century buildings that line the streets all have owners, all pay taxes and many have had a long list of tenants come and go.
The Journal-World has gathered a host of data about Massachusetts Street and how it has changed over the last decade.
Check out this database of building owners and property values around downtown Lawrence. After you've looked at the map, scroll down a little further for some interesting facts about downtown and its changes.
What’s it worth
• $81.2 million is how much Massachusetts Street is worth in 2011, according to the tax values on file at the Douglas County Courthouse. Over the last 10 years, the value of Massachusetts Street from Sixth to 11th has grown by $32.5 million.
• $437,600 is the median value of a building on Massachusetts Street. In 2001, the median value was $273,400. That equates to a 60 percent increase, or about 6 percent per year for the last decade.
• $13,520 is how much that average-valued commercial building would pay in property taxes in 2011, based on current tax rates. That means whatever merchants are in that building need to sell at least $1,126 worth of stuff each month just to pay the property taxes.
In 2001, the average-priced commercial building in downtown paid $623 in property taxes each month. That’s an increase of 80.7 percent for the decade. That rate of increase was nearly 3 times the rate of inflation, which was 28 percent for the decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
• Any guesses on the highest-valued building along Massachusetts Street? Perhaps the iconic Eldridge Hotel? No. Then, the U.S. Bank Tower that tops the downtown skyline? No. When it comes to value, think newer. The building that houses The Gap, of all things, has the distinction of being the highest-valued building in downtown. The building at 643 Mass. also is home to Chicos, Deciphera Pharmaceuticals on its upper floors, and a host of offices including those for Gene Fritzel Construction. The property, owned by a group led by the Fritzel family, is valued at $5.1 million.
Here’s a look at the top 5 valued properties along Massachusetts Street:
- 643 Mass. $5.1 million
- 911 Mass., which includes Chipotle, Fed Ex, Safee’s and various offices: $3.1 million.
- 701 Mass., The Eldridge Hotel: $3.0 million
- 900 Mass., the U.S. Bank Tower: $2.7 million
- 645 and 647 Mass., which include Claire’s, Coldstone Creamery, Starbucks, and Winfield House: $2.5 million.
Note: The Journal-World’s corporate offices and printing plant have frontage along Massachusetts Street. It was not included in this database because its address is 609 N.H., and it does not take access off Massachusetts Street. It has a 2011 appraised value of $3.0 million.
• What about the other end of the scale, you ask? Here are the five lowest-valued buildings along Massachusetts Street:
- 1033 Mass., Rex’s Stadium Barbershop: $170,200
- 812 Mass., The Juice Stop: $181,600
- 944 Mass., The Red Lyon Tavern: $194,000
- 1014 Mass., Sylas & Maddy’s: $195,300
- 737 Mass., Made: $197,700
Going up, up, up
• The average increase in value for a Mass. Street property was 6 percent a year, or 60 percent for the decade. But there were many properties that saw a lot larger increase than that. Many were the site of new developments. Here’s a look at the five largest percentage increases in value over the decade:
- 945 and 947 Mass., which include Ingredient restaurant and multiple apartments: 299.4 percent.
- 712 and 714 Mass., which include House Parts, a vacant space that is set to become a Mexican restaurant, and multiple apartments: 286 percent.
- 936 Mass., The Toy Store: 246.5 percent
- 1011 Mass., The Pita Pit: 224.9 percent
- 802 Mass., Sunflower Outdoor & Bike: 224.6 percent
• The five properties that had the lowest increase in value over the decade:
- 724 Mass., the vacant space that formerly housed Jo Shmo’s restaurant: negative 5.0 percent
- 907 Mass., The Mad Greek restaurant: 17.4 percent
- 701 Mass., The Eldridge Hotel: 18.8 percent
- 840 Mass., Antiques Bazaars II: 26.6 percent
- 623 Mass., M&M; Office Supply: 28.6 percent
Who owns Mass. Street?
• When it comes to people, Lawrence businessman and apartment magnate Doug Compton is the top owner of Mass. Street property. Compton either individually or as part of a group owns at least 12 Massachusetts Street properties, according to ownership and corporate records from the Douglas County Courthouse and the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.
But Compton is not alone in having a heavy stake in Mass. Street. Others who own significant amounts of property — again, either individually or through a partnership — include:
— George and Judy Paley, who started out as retailers with the old Natural Way store, 9 properties.
— Various members of the Fritzel family own four properties, including three of the five Mass. Street properties that have values of more than $2 million.
— Longtime downtown retailer Rod Ernst, of Ernst & Son Hardware, owns four properties.
— The local Park & Jean Hetzel III Trust also owns four buildings.
• Let’s take a little trip back to 2001. According to listings in the Polk Directory, here are some businesses that were on Mass Street in 2001 but aren’t any longer: The Toy Moon; Eddie Bauer; Fields; Silver Works and More; The Topiary Tree; Alley Cat Records; The Bay Leaf; Southwest & More; Paradise Cafe; Brown Bear Brewing Co.; G. Willikers; Maurices; Aces & Eights Warped Sports; Carlson Wagonlit Travel; Round Corner Drug; The Casbah; McQueen Jewelers; Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant; Randall’s Formal Wear; The Bike Shop; Border Line; Natural Way; Kief’s Music; Eastons; Lady Campbell’s; Penny Annie’s; Bo-Van Gift Shop; The Hawk’s Loft; Backwoods Equipment; Sugartown Traders; Blue Heron; Grammer; Everything But Ice; New York Burrito; Mass Street Deli; Low Rider Mexican Café; Connex International; Hopkins Sheet Metal; Jersey’s Bar & Grill.
Ah, the memories — one Mass. Street commodity you can never put a price on.