Archive for Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Contract pending: Gaslight Village in line for redevelopment

October 4, 2011


Gaslight Village Mobile Home Park is under contract to be sold for redevelopment, a decade after the park split to allow construction of a Best Buy, Home Depot and other commercial development northeast of 31st and Iowa streets.

And new homes or apartments could be on the way.

Residents of the 41-acre park, 1900 W. 31st St., are being advised of the proceedings by the park’s owner, which notes that funds are available to help relocate mobile homes to other parks if the sale goes through in the coming months.

Edwardsville-based Mid-America Manufactured Housing Communities, which owns the park, has distributed notification letters to residents of the 148 homes at the park, which has 241 spaces — and has been the subject of development speculation ever since developers secured approval in 2001 for opening a Home Depot at 1910 W. 31st.

“The rumors are flying wildly again,” said Tom Horner, corporate secretary for Mid-America. “There is a potential buyer out there that is looking at buying it. We just wanted to be honest with our residents and tell them the truth.”

While Horner declined to discuss specifics of the proposed use, citing a confidentiality agreement, he noted that the city would need to approve any development plan. Such approval, in turn, would trigger a deadline for the buyers to close on their purchase.

“It would be a change of use for the property,” Horner said.

City officials have been in contact with a company that envisions a project “along the lines of a residential use,” one that would comply with the area’s comprehensive plan, said Scott McCullough, the city’s planning director.

The property, now zoned for single-family homes, is designated for future “medium-density residential” development. That would require rezoning to a designation that would allow an increase from four dwellings per acre to a range of seven to 15 units per acre.

Such zoning could allow for a “wide range of uses,” McCullough said: from single-family homes to duplexes, townhomes and apartment buildings.

An existing apartment complex across the street, formerly called The Exchange, would be at the upper end of the “medium-density” range, McCullough said.

“The plan envisions a little bit higher zoning, but still a residential category,” he said. “It’s an evolution of organizing the area. If it’s done correctly, according to the plan designation, then it could be good for the area.”

Undeveloped property to the east is not included in the envisioned development plan.

Gaslight Village had been home to 421 lots along the north side of 31st Street when, back in 1999, it became the focus of a major development initiative: A Chicago-based company wanted to use more than half of the park for a new Home Depot, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and other uses, adding up to more than 250,000 square feet of retail and more than 1,000 parking spaces.

More than two years later, a downsized version of the plan — a smaller Home Depot, and no room for Dick’s Sporting Goods, an anticipated office-supply retailer or a proposed linen store — won city approval.

Since then, Horner and his partners have continued to own the park and his management company, MHP Property Management Services, has continued to operate it.

And while they’ve never posted a “for sale” sign out front, they’ve continued to field inquires regarding a potential sale.

“We’ve be approached on a regular basis — annually, at least, ever since the Home Depot deal,” Horner said Tuesday. “We’ve had people come by to solicit us, everybody from brokers to users and everybody in between.”

Now such interest has advanced to the point where a contract is pending. Surveyors have been on the park site, verifying boundary lines and infrastructure that would have an effect on the sale.

As Gaslight Village’s owners say in their letter to residents: “We will keep you informed as the potential sale progresses during the next several months.”


LogicMan 6 years, 5 months ago

Sam's Club, Costco, or Ikea!

Build it, and I will spend, and pay taxes!

royalpain 6 years, 5 months ago

Report: Trailer park to disband - tornadoes vow to fight rezoning...more at 6:00.

somedude20 6 years, 5 months ago

Think of all the historical artifacts that could be unearthed when they redevelop the Gaslight. Imagine finding the first crackpipe used in Lawrence or a bullet from the first robery that the Gaslight ever had. These could be important finds folks and it must be preserved

Gary Anderson 6 years, 5 months ago

Wow...stereotype much? I live in a mobile home community in town. My wife is a respected KU researcher...I am a teacher. I have lived here three years and have heard of no crime whatsoever.

ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 5 months ago

Actually, Gaslight is pretty awful. There are some nice trailer parks and some decent trailer parks in town, but Gaslight isn't one of them. The road/lot is worse than if there were literally no pavement there. And remember the shooting last year at the apartment complex across the street, formerly known as the Exchange? No one died, but 8 were hit by bullets or richochets... the gunman? He was spurned from a party there, went back home -- to Gaslight -- to get his gun before he came back. So, yeah, I don't really think it's a stereotype in Gaslight's case. I'm all for rezoning.

To make it seem like I'm human, I should say that it would SUCK awfully if the place where you've lived for a decade just decides that it's no longer going to house you and your trailer. Not a circumstance many of us are familiar with. And not a great time, economically, for a bunch of people to have to move.

somedude20 6 years, 5 months ago

too bad you do not read or watch the news otherwise you would know about all of the crime that had happened at the Gaslight but don't let facts knock you off of your high horse

average 6 years, 5 months ago

Say what, consumer? I was here in 1999. Hodges was mayor. The progressives did not have the majority on the commission. Their majority was for 2 years (maybe 4 depending on how you want to count 'em) of the last 50 years of Chamber commissions, but that was more like 2004.

We certainly don't have 'progressives' in the majority now, do we? Let 10,000 big boxes bloom.

royalpain 6 years, 5 months ago

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

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

Well, the joke that was removed should have been rated PG-13, maybe R, definitely not rated X. So we now know that to get a joke removed the line is somewhere between PG-13 and R. And I still think it was cute, not hateful or hurtful in the slightest.

ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 5 months ago

Not an easy thing to make an original joke about a store named Dicks. Let alone that it's funny.

royalpain 6 years, 5 months ago

That was one of my better moments on here. I didn't think it was that bad...

Steve Jacob 6 years, 5 months ago

I must be the only one with good memories of Gaslight? It was there the first time I got to second AND third base.

LogicMan 6 years, 5 months ago

There was a baseball diamond there???

irvan moore 6 years, 5 months ago

i think the historic resources people should be getting involved. Trailer parks are a forgotten gem in our history and an important part of our culture, Remember the trailers of the 60s? pink and gray paint schemes to rival any nash or buick on the road. please city commisioners save the trailer park so my grandchildern will be able to see this treasured historical district.

royalpain 6 years, 5 months ago

OK, I’ll try this again and see if it squeezes through the PC-meter…The reason that the proposed sporting goods store didn’t come to fruition is because there was a rift among those in the alternative lifestyles community. About 1/3 of those fine citizens were against the store, 1/3 were very much behind the idea and the other 1/3 were on the fence. See….the name of the proposed sporting goods store was – well, it was “short for Richard” – but not Rick’s. Too much?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 5 months ago

So far so good. Wait, wait, wait ..........

thebigspoon 6 years, 5 months ago

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

homechanger 6 years, 5 months ago

I didn't know Peter is short for Richard.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 5 months ago

SRJ wrote: I must be the only one with good memories of Gaslight? It was there the first time I got to second AND third base.

---okay, but I'm wondering, did she remember to spit out her chaw juice, cover her tattoo and were her raggedy jeans shorts at least clean?

kernal 6 years, 5 months ago

Some of the trailers in Gaslight Village are starting to look like the old Qandils condemned trailer park that used to be on E. 23rd St. Now we know why there was little or no interest in cleaning the place up.

Wilbur makes a good point; plus, some of those trailers probably won't make it through a move. There really are some folks there who will need help in finding a new place or somewhere else to park their trailer. Does Lawrence's Section 8 housing program still have a waiting list over a year long?

kinder_world 6 years, 5 months ago

Gaslight used to be a reasonable place to rent and live. Many college students lived there until all the apartments were built starting in the late 80's. Many young families lived there, save money, and later purchased brick and mortar homes in Lawrence. Part of the problem with upkeep at Gaslight and all mobile home parks was the way the property was taxed on what it could be and not for what it was - a moble home park.

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