Archive for Monday, February 21, 2011

Town Talk: Rumors of Olive Garden grow; January home sales up; South Mass. gas station reopens; 9th and Iowa BP station closes

February 21, 2011


News and notes from around town:

• Keep your eye on the corner of 27th and Iowa streets. News in the development community is that several sets of assessments are being done on the vacant lot that is at the northeast corner of the intersection. Speculation is that the tenant most interested in the site is The Olive Garden Italian restaurant chain. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve chased down an Olive Garden rumor over the last decade, I would have at least seven or eight dollars. But I’ve decided to pass this one along because I’ve heard it from a couple of reliable sources now, and there’s no doubt the site — which years ago used to house a Mazzio’s pizza restaurant — is being actively marketed. Mission-based MD Management — the same group that is working to redevelop several properties near 23rd and Ousdahl — has been shopping the property. The site also is adjacent to the vacant Plum Tree Chinese restaurant site, which means there is a decent amount of vacant real estate on a corner that gets lots of traffic headed to and from South Iowa Street’s big box stores. I’ve got a call into MD Management. No word on whether an Olive Garden would want a special taxing district to help pay for development costs. That is what has been proposed for the area near 23rd and Ousdahl. I’ll let you know if I hear anything.

• It is only one month, but January was a good one for the local real estate market. According to new numbers from the Lawrence Board of Realtors, 54 homes sold in January. That’s up nearly 59 percent from January 2010, when 34 homes sold. The median selling price also was up about 2.8 percent from about $141,000 a year ago to about $145,000 this year. But that number can be a little deceiving because it includes three new homes that sold for about $300,000 on average. When you look at only existing homes that sold — in other words, delete newly constructed homes — the median sales price dropped slightly from $140,000 in 2010 to $139,900. In case you are keeping score at home, that is fairly close to what the county appraiser said homeowners should expect when their change of value notices get mailed later this month.

Even though it is just a one-month snapshot, some in the real estate industry think it might be a sign that the market is beginning to strengthen again. That’s in part because December’s numbers also were up after what was generally considered a very slow fall real estate market in Lawrence.

• A once-closed south Massachusetts Street convenience store has reopened. The former Shell gasoline station at 1733 Mass. is back open under new ownership and a new name. It now goes by Mass. Stop and is owned by R&R; Enterprises. The location, however, continues to operate under the Shell banner. But according to an employee at the store, it has changed its gasoline offerings. Previously, the store sold only gasoline that was ethanol free, which often resulted in its price per gallon being higher than other stations. The station still offers ethanol-free gasoline, but it also offers a more conventional blend that contains ethanol and is more comparable to what is sold elsewhere.

• While one convenience store has reopened, another has closed. But perhaps not for long. The BP station at 914 Iowa Street is no longer open, according to an employee with Topeka-based Haag Oil Company. He said Haag — which owns several stations throughout northeast Kansas — has signed a contract to sell the property. A name of the buyer wasn’t released, but the Haag Oil official confirmed that it is being bought by a company that is in the gasoline business.

“But what they plan on doing with the site, I don’t know,” the Haag employee said.


irvan moore 7 years, 4 months ago

i'm good for 2 or 3 times a month at th OG if they open it.

Caesar_Augustus 7 years, 4 months ago

Ditto. Love some soup and salad for lunch or dinner.

Jonathan Kealing 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't pretend to know anything, but that seems like too small a location for a Quik Trip. My dad knows a guy who does their site planning, and typically they look for wide open spaces for lots of pumps and lots of room — not something small like the 9th and Iowa BP lot.

gccs14r 7 years, 4 months ago

27th & Iowa would be big enough, though, if they bought Plum Tree and the two properties behind, too. The only way 9th & Iowa would work is if the medical practice and whatever's behind them were also bough out.

Curtis Lange 7 years, 4 months ago

Oh, I agree. That lot is too small for a typical QT location. Just wishful thinking for one on this side of town. :)

Matt O'Reilly 7 years, 4 months ago

The Plum Tree closed down a while ago-it's been vacant for at least a year now.

gccs14r 7 years, 4 months ago

They're combined with Panda Garden. I think they call themselves plumpanda online.

sinkorswim 7 years, 4 months ago

I've only been to an Olive Garden a couple of times, but pretty sure they serve Italian food, not Chinese.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 4 months ago

I remember people saying when interest rates started going up, people would start buying homes again "before it was to late", this is the start.

somebodynew 7 years, 4 months ago

Just a guess, but I bet the new owner @9/Iowa is Zaremba (Zarco Stations). I know he had some big expansion plans he talked about awhile back, but just a guess.

Hey Chad - what is going in on North Michigan Street ??? They just leveled a lot of dirt next to apartments - more apartments??? Just wondering. thanks.

KU_Radar 7 years, 4 months ago

Luxury one-bedroom apartments. Same owner as the complex next door.

7 years, 4 months ago

will there still be indian food at the 17th & mass gas station? that place was run by a very nice man (indian i presume?), is he still there?

maybeso 7 years, 4 months ago

Curry in a Hurry!! The best. I miss Sammy.

luv2raft 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree! This town already has too many bad Italian restaurants.

GardenMomma 7 years, 4 months ago

Please, no more special taxing districts!

Raider 7 years, 4 months ago

Nothing says "whiskey tango" more than the Olive Garden.

Randall Uhrich 7 years, 4 months ago

"whiskey tango"? Is that WT, code for White Trash? That'd be some fawn dinin', y'all.

Alfred_W 7 years, 4 months ago

Now if we could just get a Golden Corral to go with it...

cryineyes 7 years, 4 months ago

I would love to have an OG in Lawrence..!!

countrygirl 7 years, 4 months ago

Anybody know what happened to the Phillips 66 station at 25th and Iowa?

jackpot 7 years, 4 months ago

I heard the shop closed. Not enough work and they didn't want to stay open as gas/convenience store.

countrygirl 7 years, 4 months ago

That's too bad. Nice guys and one of the few places in town that didn't make you pre-pay for gas.

jhawkinsf 7 years, 4 months ago

I've always liked Olive Garden though a locally owned business would be good also.

jackpot 7 years, 4 months ago

Chad thanks for the follow up. I hear maybe the B.P. at 19th and Haskell may be in the mix.

Lori Nation 7 years, 4 months ago

Please Olive Garden come to Lawrence!!!

BigPrune 7 years, 4 months ago

Olive Garden and Red Lobster, both owned by the same restaurant group is too cheap to pay the high prices in Lawrence. I remembering hearing about Red Lobster in the early 1990's. Here it is almost 20 years later.

Betty Bartholomew 7 years, 4 months ago

OG hasn't killed Paisano's in Topeka, yet.

Though frankly, the last two times I went to Paisano's here in Lawrence, the service was horribly slow, and I was irritated that we paid an extra however-much (they were overpriced) for three meatballs that were smaller than golf balls with not much flavor.

squarepusher 7 years, 4 months ago

Chick-fil-a would be nice. Heck, an AMC Theatre would be orgasmic.

JayCat_67 7 years, 4 months ago

Plus, there is a Chick-fil-a in town. I believe it's in the Oread Hotel building.

jackpot 7 years, 4 months ago

from the website Chick-fil-A 1445 Jayhawk Blvd, Lawrence, KS 66045 (785) 864-3061 ‎ shows Bailey Hall for bus stop

squarepusher 7 years, 3 months ago

A real Chick-fil-a restaurant. Not a food cart.

squarepusher 7 years, 4 months ago

Oh, and a mini QT would be slick. Hope they get a German restaurant one of these days. Been craving some Jaeger Schnitzel. Oktoberfest in Lawrence.

Scott Morgan 7 years, 4 months ago

Don't forget the new Bambinos. Red Lobster would be an instant hit, and wonder why (truth) they haven't been here. Neither OG or Olive Garden is 5 Star dining, but taint bad either.

LogicMan 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes. A Red Lobster would fit better, and not kill off Paisanos which would be almost across the street.

BigPrune 7 years, 4 months ago

Like I said, they are too cheap. They are known for being cheap. That land at 27th & Iowa is way too expensive. I would be shocked if they went there unless the owners are making a huge concession. They paid a premium over market price and so it has sat for a few years.

LogicMan 7 years, 4 months ago

Interesting. Who owns it?

That corner lot has sat unused for so long the original buyer must have sold it or gone broke by now. The bank have it back?

I wonder why the owner tore down the pizza joint because it looked still usable. It and the lot would have at least made for a used car lot, convenience store, or bank branch, and brought the land owner some income all this time.

LogicMan 7 years, 4 months ago

Thanks. Their website shows they have control of the whole corner, include the old Chinese restaurant, the long-vacant chiropractor's office, and the land north and east of both. So a nice, large but sloping square corner lot is available.

Terry Jacobsen 7 years, 4 months ago

Isn't OG and Olive Garden the same thing? Just saying.

BigPrune 7 years, 4 months ago

There was a diner a couple of years ago in downtown Lawrence. Drake's re-opened off of 10th Street but it didn't last long.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 4 months ago

we really could use a big gas station on the south end. there's conoco, usually impossible to get into or out of if you have to cross traffic. 66, very small. then BP several blocks later. that's it on South Iowa. If QT could find a place to plop down, they would do very well.

Dover 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree! There's a restaurant in Baldwin City called Cordoba's that fits this bill, though. Thought I'd pass it along. Great biscuits and gravy, country fried steak, burgers, patty melts, french dips, etc., and amazing homemade pie! No bar, and not a fancy place, but REALLY good food.

Adrienne Sanders 7 years, 4 months ago

I can't believe anyone actually likes Olive Garden. (Okay, many people like Olive Garden.) The food is terrible.

LogicMan 7 years, 4 months ago

In the new, empty building in front of Home Depot makes the most sense to me. Faster, and probably much cheaper to get going; that building's owner must be very motivated by now. And preferably a Red Lobster since we don't have much seafood offered here in town.

Kelly Johnson 7 years, 4 months ago

That's an ironic comparison, considering that Joe's is long gone and DD is starting on a 2nd

I've never cared much for Paisano's food. It seems like most people I know either like Paisano's and don't like Olive Garden, or they like Olive Garden and don't care for Paisano's.

I'll take an OG for sure, but I'd really love to see a Fazoli's here!

squarepusher 7 years, 4 months ago

I think people are confusing Paisano's with Italian. Bambino's is far more Italian. Glad to see Bambino's took that Zig and Mac's location. It was Zig and Mac's, right? Shows how popular that place was.

squarepusher 7 years, 3 months ago

Most food does come from cans. So how Italian is Paisano's?

squarepusher 7 years, 3 months ago

Ever seen the film, "A Prophet"? If the Corsican mafia can do it, so can the Italian mafia.

Ladybug2 7 years, 4 months ago

I see Golden Corral is advertising for jobs in Lawrence. Where are they going to be located?

LogicMan 7 years, 4 months ago

"I see Golden Corral is advertising for jobs in Lawrence"

Truely? Where did you see such ads?

So much for my petite figure if they do come to town!

dogsandcats 7 years, 4 months ago

Paisano's is ok but expensive. Bambino's is disgusting. Olive Garden is halfway between disgusting and ok and less expensive. However, the best Italian food comes from my own kitchen.

Kelly Johnson 7 years, 3 months ago

I went to Bambino's new location today, and it was not good. They have it really dark in there, which is difficult to figure out how since there are some huge windows on the south/west side of the building. The wait staff was less than impressive, and the food upset my stomach. It's been years since I've eaten there and the quality of the food and service has definitely gone downhill...sorry, but I doubt we'll be back.

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