Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Town Talk: Speciality grocer has looked at Borders but building still on the market; city to consider traffic calming for Crescent Road; bike lanes vs. on-street parking may become future issue

December 20, 2011

Advertisement

Subscribe to the Town Talk email edition

Subscribe to the email edition of Town Talk and we'll deliver you the latest city news and notes every weekday at noon.

• I heard back from an Old Navy spokeswoman recently, and the retailer is not yet ready to announce the date that its Lawrence store will close. I’ll keep an ear out for any news on that front.

I’ll also be watching for any signs that Old Navy may be seeking a new location in town, but I’m not picking up on any of those. I chatted with the commercial real estate agent who is marketing the vacant Borders property in downtown Lawrence. Commercial real estate agents generally don’t mention by name the companies they are working with, but I got no indication that Old Navy had shown any interest in the building.

“We’re getting interest from specialty grocery stores and fitness users and a whole range of tenants,” said Eric Gonsher, a commercial real estate agent with The R.H. Johnson Company. “We continue to have a pretty steady stream of interested parties, but the property is still available.”

According to the listing on the company’s Web site, the 20,000-square-foot Border’s location is available either for lease of for sale. The asking price is $2 million to purchase or $14 per square foot for a lease.

The company is marketing the property as the only retail building of its size available in Lawrence — something to think about when the argument arises that Lawrence is overbuilt when it comes to retail — and certainly the only one in downtown with 105 private parking spaces.

• Yes, those 105 parking spaces outside of Borders are private spaces that go with the building. Right now, though, the lot is the best parking deal in Downtown Lawrence.

Almost every day the lot is full of people, despite the Borders store being empty. That’s because unlike most public parking lots in downtown, there are no meters and no two-hour time limit.

Thus far, Gonsher said the owners of the building — a group out of Michigan — don’t have a problem with the public’s use of the lot.

“I know the ownership group wants to be as friendly as they can be to the community,” Gonsher said. “I don’t think it bothers them as long as there isn’t a tenant in there. But the 105 spaces definitely go with the building.”

I’m sure most who park there understand that, but I’m not sure all do. City commissioners recently got a complaint that the outdoor lights in the lot were no longer on at night. Commissioners had to point out that the lot wasn’t the city’s, and it might be difficult to ask the owner of a vacant building to pay to leave the lights on.

• One area where the traffic moves at a very non-parking lot pace is on Crescent Road near Kansas University. The speed limit in the residential area is 20 miles per hour but the average speed recently was measured by the city at 31 miles per hour.

That’s caused some residents of the neighborhood to request that the city build traffic calming devices on the road. But certainly not all residents of the neighborhood are excited about that prospect. City commissioners at their meeting this evening will get to sort through it.

The city’s Traffic Safety Commission recommended on an 8-0 vote that the area be added to the city’s list of future traffic calming projects. Speed humps or speed cushions are the most likely type of devices, but such details would be decided at a later time. Some neighbors, though, said they would rather see the city explore making some roads in the area one-way in an attempt to calm traffic. It will be interesting to see whether that idea gains any momentum tonight. As with all traffic calming projects approved by the city, there’s no real timeline on when the project may actually get built. The city has some traffic calming projects that have been approved for several years but have not yet been built.

• As we previously reported, one area that may finally get its approved traffic calming devices is the Breezedale area south of 23rd and Massachusetts streets. The city is scheduled to repave some residential streets south of 23rd and Massachusetts in 2012, and is proposing to add the previously approved speed hump devices. First, though, the city must get approval from the city’s Historic Resources Commission since there are properties in the area that have a historic designation. (What? You don’t think horse and buggies went too fast through that area years ago?) The city also likely will check back in with the current residents of the neighborhood and determine that there is still consensus to build the devices.

A few other area also may get some extra work as part of construction projects in 2012. They include:

  1. Monterey Way from Sixth Street to Bob Billings Parkway. City engineers want to add bike lanes to the stretch of street when it is microsurfaced this year. But there are stretches of the street that have on-street parking that could be a problem for a bike lane. No word yet on how the city proposes to deal with the parking issue.
  2. 23rd Street bridge near Haskell Indian Nations University. New sidewalks will be constructed on both sides of 23rd Street and across the bridge. There also will be a new connection to the multi-use trail that exists underneath the bridge and new lighting will be added to the trail entrance near the bridge.
  3. Sixth and Kasold. A new bus lane/right turn lane will be added on Sixth Street where it intersects with Kasold Drive as part of repaving project for Sixth Street.

City commissioners will discuss the proposed 2012 street projects at their 6:35 p.m. meeting today.

Comments

classclown 2 years, 12 months ago

• One area where the traffic moves at a very non-parking lot pace is on Crescent Road near Kansas University. The speed limit in the residential area is 20 miles per hour but the average speed recently was measured by the city at 31 miles per hour.

======================================

Why is the speed limit on that street only 20mph when it's 30mph everywhere else?

Phone_Man 2 years, 12 months ago

Perhaps it's because nobody feels like doing the speed limit. Look at K-10 no one needs or feels like doing the speed limit there either. When it comes to driving it seems self policing is the name of the game.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 12 months ago

"But there are stretches of the street that have on-street parking that could be a problem for a bike lane."

That's a very good point. Sometimes when you're on a bicycle you're not sure how close you can ride alongside parked cars because of the suddenly opening car door problem. Of course, if you're seated behind the steering wheel of a car, it might not be very obvious exactly why some wise bicyclists don't ride very close to parallel parked cars.

A bit over 20 years ago I was riding a bicycle when someone opened a car door right in front of me. There was absolutely no way I could avoid a crash, I just yelled as I flew over the handlebars of my bicycle.

I saw the upper door frame of the driver's door right in front of me, and with a quick reflex I was able to land on it from my horizontally flying situation on my arm and shoulder. So, no injuries.

If it had been a car with no frame around the driver's window, or one that wasn't so sturdy, I would have smashed it for sure, and that might have been a very bad scene.

But considering how violently I crashed into the very top of the driver's door window frame, I have often wondered if that car door ever fit quite right after that.

coderob 2 years, 12 months ago

The solution several larger cities propose is to put the bike lanes next to the sidewalk, and then put parking on the outside of the bike lanes. This way doorings are much less likely since cyclists are biking next to passenger doors instead of driver doors and most car trips are done solo.

Betty Bartholomew 2 years, 12 months ago

While there are no "no parking" signs that I've ever noticed on that stretch of Monterey - and I drive it every Mon-Fri - I never see anybody parked along it. There are only a couple of residences that even face that stretch of road. I don't think anybody would miss parking on the street there. I do frequently see bike riders, though, and the street is wide enough it could accommodate bike lanes.

I wish they'd remove that stupid little roundabout - pardon me, "traffic calming circle" - at Monterey and 9th (or is it 7th?) while they're working on the street. It isn't centered, so going north you have to go around two-thirds of it, and it ices up badly in the winter because it doesn't drain properly. It's an annoyance.

littlexav 2 years, 12 months ago

I think the on-street parking zone is for the houses on the south end of Monterey; the roundabout is actually at Harvard (which falls at something like 11th). I hated that traffic circle when I lived over there! The problem is if they remove it, all the people using Monterey as a cross-link between 6th and 15th (excuse me, "Bob Billings Parkway") would clog up the people trying to turn left to get home at night. Roundabouts effectively give people turning left the right-of-way by injecting them into the traffic flow ahead of the people who otherwise would be blocking them. And traffic on Monterey is just getting heavier and heavier as people give up on the parking lot that is Iowa...

Boston_Corbett 2 years, 12 months ago

I heard a rumor that a hardware store was thinking about the Borders location.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 12 months ago

"The company is marketing the property as the only retail building of its size available in Lawrence — something to think about when the argument arises that Lawrence is overbuilt when it comes to retail — and certainly the only one in downtown with 105 private parking spaces. "

Guess that is testament to the NO demand for space that large in a flooded retail market.

A hardware store would go broke in this location. Take the hardware to North Lawrence where one is in demand.

bearded_gnome 2 years, 12 months ago

add reading comprehension to Merrilly's long list of deficiencies. lol

gl0ck0wn3r 2 years, 12 months ago

Merrill, you have once again proven that you are completely clueless. Congratulations.

George_Braziller 2 years, 12 months ago

There was some sort of parking deal that went on with the city and Borders when it was being constructed. It was an agreement where the city would pay for some site improvement in exchange for "X" number of parking spaces to be used for downtown parking.

It's been so long ago I can't remember the specifics.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 12 months ago

A Traders Joe would do just fine there.

kochmoney 2 years, 12 months ago

Which is owned by Aldi, as it happens.

littlexav 2 years, 12 months ago

I can remember at least a half-dozen times I was almost run over by a car screaming down Crescent Road... speed humps would be a lovely addition over there.

littlexav 2 years, 12 months ago

haha, maybe! but it's a good shortcut to avoid The Hill between the dorms and campus, and the sidewalks are pretty cruddy :-(

Orwell 2 years, 12 months ago

Sarcasm – the right wing's substitute for thinking.

JrMints 2 years, 12 months ago

Did you just make a sarcastic comment?

John Kyle 2 years, 12 months ago

Why would someone need a light to read twitter? Do you think it's a book?

blindrabbit 2 years, 12 months ago

As much as I like Trader Joe's and trade there wherever I can find one while travelling, don't think it would make it here. No Two Buck Chucks, too much alligience to the Merc, and now with the new store on 23rd. Also, Wild Oats tried and failed. Been a member of the Merc. since 1983, but don't know how most people can afford it; to each their own!

I vote for a new Fiat auto dealership in the Borders building; would return to it's former self, when it was Parker Buick Co.

Scott Morgan 2 years, 12 months ago

Fiat coming to 23rd st. You can order now at Biggs.

peartree 2 years, 12 months ago

I would agree, but the Merc does not get much student traffic, and Trader Joe's has an allure to students who would shop there. If they actively marketed to the KU population, I think they could make it in Lawrence. They have one in Madison. Many people feel disenfranchised by the Merc, too, and the new Natural Grocers is too pricey for most. So, TRADER JOES! :)

Dan Blomgren 2 years, 12 months ago

Rent alone based on website numbers is over $23,000 per month. Factor in insurance, labor, utilities, repair and maintenance, advertising, payroll taxes, etc.. and the list of possible suitors falls rapidly. Trader Joes's won't consider a market the size of Lawrence, and neither will a host of other chain retailers. Chances are it will be a halloween store for the month of October for years to come..........and will sit empty the rest of the year.

imastinker 2 years, 12 months ago

Commercial lease rates are calculated on a yearly basis, and you did your math wrong. It's $28k/yr.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 12 months ago

Check again-- it's your math that's wrong-- $14*20,000 sq. ft. is $280,000 per year, or something over $23,000 per month, as penny pointed out.

imastinker 2 years, 12 months ago

Interesting - I wouldn't have thought it was that expensive. $14/sqft is about right from what I've seen though.

Hey, cut me some slack - it was the middle of the night!! I couldn't sleep.

bearded_gnome 2 years, 12 months ago

The company is marketing the property as the only retail building of its size available in Lawrence — something to think about when the argument arises that Lawrence is overbuilt when it comes to retail — and certainly the only one in downtown with 105 private parking spaces. ---lol. another swipe at Merrilly, Chad. you better watch it.

and this time, no uxorial reference ... hmmm

bearded_gnome 2 years, 12 months ago

instead of stopping up yet another street, and wasting more money that could actually fix streets and sidewalks, find out what's causing so many people to cut through on Crescent rd.

so often, led by Merrilly on the TSC, they put in rules and devices that slow down main roads, while ignoring the obvious needs of others like Iowa, and then wonder why drivers with half a brain (more than what they have) decide to cut through neighborhoods!

stop the traffic constipation, and people won't have to cut through neighborhoods at higher speeds. see, that's easy to understand.

bearded_gnome 2 years, 12 months ago

Chad: is that the westbound 6th or the eastbound getting the new lane, or both (doubt that, ain't wide enough there I think)?

thanks. I still say Jimmy Stewart could've played you in a movie.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 12 months ago

Grocery Store and Hardware store go to North Lawrence where the demand is real.

gl0ck0wn3r 2 years, 12 months ago

Says the General Secretary of the People's Republic of Merrillstan where economies are centrally planned based on the General Secretary's extensive city planning experience.

Scott Morgan 2 years, 12 months ago

Why would Old Navy leave a good lease to move to a more expensive one in a town not supporting the existing branch?

And we worry about traffic calming devices. eeeaaaak.

Steve Bradt 2 years, 12 months ago

Please tell me the sidewalks on the 23rd St. bridge are for the new bridge, not the current one that's due to be demolished soon.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.