Archive for Thursday, January 6, 2011

Town Talk: Five-story building proposed for 800 block of Vermont; project in 1000 block of Vermont also moving forward; Poehler Building considered for redevelopment

January 6, 2011


News and notes from around town.

• A new five-story building is being considered for the city-owned parking lot on the east side of Vermont Street between Eighth and Ninth streets. And the development group is using the carrot of a possible downtown grocery store in hopes of persuading the city to give up the 159-space lot.

Lawrence architect Paul Werner has pitched a concept to City Hall leaders for a multi-use building that would have anywhere from 48 to 86 apartments, and 12,000 to 44,400 square feet of office space. The building would also have 15,000 square feet of retail space that Werner has said would work well for a grocery store. But from preliminary documents, it doesn’t appear there is any firm commitment yet from a grocery store to be part of the project. If a grocery were unable to be found for the space, the proposal also mentions the possibility of a drug store or some other retail use other than a restaurant. The five-story building would include a sixth floor below ground that would be dedicated to parking. Werner has indicated that there would be at least 159 public parking spaces available for use, which is the same number that exists in the lot today. The proposal also calls for at least another 200 parking spaces — spread out over two other levels — that would be reserved for the apartment and office uses.

Werner is seeking feedback from city commissioners about whether they have any interest in allowing the parking lot to be redeveloped. City Hall leaders said they have told Werner there likely would be no public money available to finance any portion of the project, but that tax increment financing may be available — especially if a grocery store were involved in the development and if more than 159 public parking spaces could be included in the project.

Information provided by the city didn’t make it clear whether Werner was working for a specific development group on the project. Werner often has been the architect of choice for Thomas Fritzel and other members of Lawrence-based Gene Fritzel Construction.

City commissioners will provide feedback on the project at their Tuesday evening meeting. Check back later for more details on the project.

• Commissioners also will hear a proposal from Lawrence-based Treanor Architects regarding a previously announced project to redevelop the former Strong’s Office Supply building at 1040 Vt. in the new headquarters for Treanor. Parking also will be a major issue for commissioners to consider on that project. Treanor officials are asking the city to allow longer term parking in the existing two-hour city parking lot. Treanor anticipates the new building — which would house about 70 employees — would need 50 long-term parking spaces in the lot. Treanor is proposing that long-term parkers would have to buy annual parking permits from the city. Currently, those permits cost $195 per year per space. Treanor officials are asking the city to fix that price for a period of 10 years for the project.

The project also plans to seek use of the Neighborhood Revitalization Act, which would allow a portion of the project to receive property tax rebates. Commissioners also will discuss this project Tuesday night. Check back later for more details.

• In the third of a trifecta of development proposals, city commissioners also will hear a proposal to redevelop the Poehler Building at 619 E. Eighth St. A group led by Krsnich Investment Group hopes to convert the multi-story former warehouse building into 40 apartments. The developers are not yet seeking any specific approvals from the City Commission, but are asking whether the city would support an application for a historic tax credit for the project.


kernal 3 years, 3 months ago

City commissioners, please leave the parking lot on the east side of Vermont, between Eight and Ninth streets alone. Part of the charm of those business which face Mass and Vermont is the back facades as well as the front facades. You don't need to make EveryThing into a concrete cube.

Seems to me a better location would be closer to Eleventh and Vermont which would also help with KU football game parking. The Farmers Market might have to move their location for the one day they are at the lot north of Cap Fed, but a place can be found for them I'm sure. They don't have as many vendors on Tuesday as the Saturday and Thursday locations do. Yes, I went to all three last summer.


oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 3 months ago

A building in the 800 block of Vermont on the east side hmmm? No alley, no place to provide deliveries to a grocery store. The genius minds are at work again. Keep screwing up a good idea. Build the building where there is access to the rear and front of the building!

Lawrence has great developers with limited minds, or great minds with limited develoment abilities?


Zachary Stoltenberg 3 years, 3 months ago

and now we all know why they wanted us to build them a parking garage at 8th and vermont...


ksjayhawk74 3 years, 3 months ago

This is great. I see Vermont & New Hampshire St looking like Mass St. in a few short years.

There is sooooooo much room for development in the Downtown area with new types of businesses.

I want to see more fast food options.


hitme 3 years, 3 months ago

This smells of a plot. The Chinese have built a prototype stealth plane, the world's tallest building is in Dubai, and now this. It has Al-Qaeda written all over it.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Another matter to keep a close eye is more multiple family developments in the neighborhoods. Developers only want to provide one half a parking space per bedroom. How can that be?

In this town 2 car spaces per bedroom is more practical otherwise parking falls out into the streets. Then there is no parking for those who have been in the neighborhoods for years. Taxpayers complain about this 24/7 it seems.

Do you know anyone who drives a half car? Only one half parking space per bedroom is a bit odd it seems.

If developers cannot make enough money providing sensible parking why are they in the business? Don't build on the backs of surrounding residential units.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

The city should not give away the parking lot to anyone. WE taxpayers want some money up front.

Lawrence is loading up downtown with lofts and residential. Who is going to live in these places? Where will the tenants come from? How much will this cost the taxpayers?

Lawrence is high dollar rent. What about that large vacant residential new apartment complex on west 15th that was going to house senior citizens?

The conventional residential market has gone sour so now we will further flood the rental market. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

What good does it do to flood markets? How does impact we taxpayers?


Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Poehler Lofts

The Poehler Lofts is the proposed redevelopment of the Poehler Building located at 619 E. 8th Street, in Lawrence, KS. Its current condition is vacant, dilapidated and continues to deteriorate. It has become home to vagrants and recently survived a fire, which could have taken the timber structure to the ground. It is located just blocks East of Massachusetts Street and is one of the last endangered historical buildings the City. This initial $7 million improvement will remove a major piece of blight and will trigger the redevelopment of an entire city block. Plans for the following phases are underway.

The Poehler is the largest building in the East Lawrence Industrial Historical District and was home to the Poehler Mercantile Company Wholesale Grocery. The 50,000 square foot four- story brick building is distinguished by five vertical bays anchored with large arched windows on the lower floor’s primary façade (North). The second through fourth stories have single rectangular window openings with segmental arches composed with three courses of brick. This specialized brickwork is consistent with the architecture of the time. The building was officially listed on the National Registry of Historical Places on December 11, 2007.
The redevelopment of the Poehler Building will be focused on preserving the historical characteristics of the building and the project will utilize historical tax credits to make the project financially feasible.

There will be approximately 40 apartments in the restored building and will have a private secured parking lot designated for tenants and guests. We anticipate 36 one bedroom units starting at $500 per month and 4 two bedroom units starting at $600. The project is located in a prime rental area and would serve as a great multifamily or senior apartment complex. There is additional square footage, which could be used for a small commercial/retail component.

The team selected for the redevelopment has over 100 years of combined redevelopment experience and is highly regarded in each of their fields. Krsnich Investment Group (Developer), Rosemann and Associates (Architect), Rau Construction (General Contractor), and Rosin Preservation (Historic Consultant) are very excited about the project and believe we will have a successful and award winning development with the revival of the Poehler Lofts.

Where is the market? Is there a market?

I think it could be excellent use of the building so long as property taxes get paid.


Laura Wilson 3 years, 3 months ago There's no parking lot on the east side of NH between 9th and 10th. The lot this article is talking about is the one used by the market, the one next to Pachamamas.


BigAl 3 years, 3 months ago

Build it. This is called progress and will bring more people to downtown Lawrence. This is a win/win situation. I don't see a downside to this. A lot of people will get work out of this construction from the craftsmen to the suppliers. All public parking spaces will be restored.


mapboy 3 years, 3 months ago

The farmer's market is held in the parking lot between 9th and 10th, a block south.


anonymous88 3 years, 3 months ago

Did any of you bother to read the article? They are not talking about removing public parking spaces... "Werner has indicated that there would be at least 159 public parking spaces available for use, which is the same number that exists in the lot today."


hail2oldku 3 years, 3 months ago

What about the farmer's market? I thought it was kicking tail at that location.


alfie 3 years, 3 months ago

The five-story building would include a sixth floor below ground that would be dedicated to parking. Werner has indicated that there would be at least 159 public parking spaces available for use, which is the same number that exists in the lot today.


macon47 3 years, 3 months ago

the grocery store will have to have the lowest prices in town or everyone will shop elsewhere just like north lawrence plus with no parking, how will you be able to shop thier in the first place


jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Here's my thought:

If any parking lots are sold to developers, they have to provide the same number of spaces, plus as many as are necessary for tenants, etc. of the new development.

No tax incentives should be used.


das 3 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


Keith 3 years, 3 months ago

I sure hope the deal for the Pohler building works out, that's too nice a building to just sit there and rot.


riverdrifter 3 years, 3 months ago

When I go downtown I depend on that parking lot - a lot. Where the hell is anybody going to park? Take it away and I'm done with downtown.


oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 3 months ago

If there is so much interest in developing around downtown, why then does Downtown Lawrence INC need a paid director, paid with tax dollars? Likewise, why would Schumm see a need to supplement a business with property tax and rent subsidies.

Leave the area alone and let private money do the job. It's about time the Neighborhood Revitalization Act started being used in Lawrence. It is a state program and not a local program.

Of course the city should endorse tax credits for the Poehler building. That makes more sense than to take tax dollars to renovate the Amtrak building.


LJ Whirled 3 years, 3 months ago

Wonder where they got the idea they could just use the Public parking spaces? .... oh.


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