Archive for Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Town Talk: Dunkin Donuts to open by mid-November; KDOT doing survey on tolls for SLT; rumblings of new downtown businesses

October 11, 2011


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News and notes from around town:

• News of a second Dunkin Donuts location opening in Lawrence has caused some people to drool more than my wife does at a Johnny Depp movie. (It’s not the pirate talk that interests her, I’ve found.) But now people want to know when the new store at Sixth and Michigan streets will open. Well, Sonny Patel — local franchise owner — told me recently that the store likely will open in the second week of November. We reported all the way back in November 2008 that Patel planned to open a store on the site. A variety of issues slowed the project, but Patel said customer demand for a store along busy Sixth Street was too great to ignore. I suspect he’s right. I’ve had several people call wanting to know when the store would open, and one person even told me that she would be changing her daily route to work as a result. (I need to know her secret because if I ate a doughnut a day, forget about changing my route to work. I would have to change my mode of transport from the F150 to a double-wide bus.)

Patel said the new store will employ about 35 people and, of course, will have the same menu as his existing store along 23rd Street — which will remain open.

“But the inside of the new store will look more like a coffee shop instead of a doughnut shop,” Patel said. “It will be a more modern design. It will be a completely different look than our other store.”

The new store also will have the same hours as the existing store — 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 5 a.m. to midnight on weekends.

• Speaking of routes to work, maybe someday a completed South Lawrence Trafficway will be an option for area motorists. KDOT certainly is planning on that, and now they’re also working on plans for how the road could charge a toll. As we reported in June, the state said it wanted to consider a toll on the road as a way to provide some funding for the project. Now, the state has hired a firm to conduct a scientific survey of area residents to determine how large of a toll they would be willing to pay. An Olathe-based firm is conducting phone surveys with 800 residents of Douglas, Johnson and Shawnee counties.

“It is a willingness to pay survey,” said Josh Powers, a spokesman for KDOT. “Before the agency can make any substantial progress on a plan, we need to understand how any toll would affect traffic.”

When the idea was announced in June, KDOT leaders said any toll likely would be a dollar or less. They also said a system would be created so that local traffic wouldn’t pay a toll to use the road. For example, a motorist entering the SLT at Clinton Parkway and exiting at Haskell, would not pay a toll because there would not be toll booths at each interchange on the trafficway. Instead, KDOT is considering an option where there would be a toll booth at the western end of the road (the Lecompton interchange on the Kansas Turnpike) and the eastern end of the road (at Noria Road on K-10). Under that scenario, a person entering the SLT from the Kansas Turnpike might pay 50 cents when entering the SLT and then would pay another 50 cents if they exit the SLT at its eastern end.

Another option, Powers said, is to just have a toll booth on the west end of the road. That would seem to treat Kansas City and Topeka commuters differently. People coming from the east who would use the SLT to get home from work wouldn’t pay a toll because they would never go through the western interchange. People coming from the west, though, would. Of course, another option is that KDOT will decide not to charge a toll. Powers, however, said that option could negatively impact the feasibility of building an interchange at Bob Billings Parkway and the SLT. Toll money likely would be used to help fund that project.

Powers expects the survey to be completed in the next few weeks. When a decision may be made on tolls is less clear. The trafficway project is awaiting a key legal ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the long-standing issue of whether the proposed route for the road legally can go through the Baker Wetlands. Oral arguments still have to be made in that case. But Powers said, assuming the state is victorious in the legal matter, KDOT will be prepared to start construction on the road in late 2013.

• I have an article in today’s Journal-World about a controversy over whether to move the old Varsity House at the northwest corner of 11th and Indiana streets to make way for a 50-unit apartment complex, complete with underground parking on the site. Plans call for the house to be moved from the corner to the north end of the site. That has created concern among historic preservationists, and also created the prospect of a close vote on the project at City Hall tonight. But now I’m hearing that a compromise may be floated. The idea would be to move the house to the south, actually moving it closer to the corner. The house currently sits in the middle of two lots at the corner, so there is room for it to go south. No word yet on whether that compromise will save the day, but it is worth keeping an ear open for tonight.

• Three quick pieces of downtown news that I’m chasing down. I hear that longtime Lawrence artist Louis Copt and a partner are opening up a new art gallery at 815 Mass., in the space next to Mark’s Jewelers. No word yet on exactly what type of art they are going to be offering, but I’ll catch up with them and report back. Also, I hear that a business that will sell handmade clothing and handbags will be opening in a spot on Eighth Street next to the Mirth Cafe. I’ve also got a call into that entrepreneur. And finally, there’s news about British food coming to downtown Lawrence. The Kansas City Star is reporting that Queen Lizzy’s Fish and Chips will open at 125 E. 10th St. in the former home of the Tenth Street Vegetarian Bistro. England-native Matt Poulton, who was a chef at the Bistro, will operate the location. Plans call for it to open in the next couple of weeks.


CWGOKU 6 years, 8 months ago

Can you find out what's finally going in the old Pizza Street location? And what's going on with the old liquor store next to Westlake Hardware on sixth? Thanks in advance.

jackpot 6 years, 8 months ago

Chad had something about the Pizza Street in a past TT, just can't remember what.

jesse499 6 years, 8 months ago

O'Reilly Auto Parts is going in the old liquor store.

FlintlockRifle 6 years, 8 months ago

Send the toll bill to all the people that have bitched for the past 20 some odd years

hail2oldku 6 years, 8 months ago

If you are referring to those that have delayed construction and driven up the costs, I fully agree with you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 8 months ago

If you're worried about the cost, the cheapest (by far) option is to build nothing. So from that perspective, the opponents have saved taxpayers hundreds of $millions. It's you that wants to spend those bucks.

Richard Andrade 6 years, 8 months ago

Fish and Chips sound good. I just hope that place has more luck in that space than the other what seems like 19 restaurants that have started and failed there in the last 16 months. Also, are you sure the new DD is going to employ 35 employees. That seems like a lot of employees for a donut shop in such a small footprint.

Bob Forer 6 years, 8 months ago

A good donut tastes great. But stopping by daily on your way to work??? I hope its for the coffee and not the donuts. Zippo nutritional value, but what's worse is all the fat and sugar. Moderation, folks, moderation.

ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 8 months ago

I suspect he does mean coffee. I'd have a hard time believing anyone, let alone a woman, would openly admit "yeah, I love donuts. I literally eat them everyday."

But speaking as someone who has coffee everyday, I hope she isn't stopping by daily for the coffee either. It can't be much better for you. Maybe an 25/75 split between donuts and coffee would have the least long-term impact on her.

LarryvilleOnTheLake 6 years, 8 months ago

Ah, the SLT rears its head yet again. Now they're talking tolls, which doesn't surprise me BUT they can't even get approval or where to place the highway, let alone 'tolls'. Definately, a Cart before the horse issue. How long has this issue been hanging?

DD and Fish and chips YES! Now you're talking! But 35 ee's does sound a wee bit ambitious. But more jobs in Lawrence would be great. Now if we can only do something about decent wages.

jesse499 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm sure 35 ee's is in 24hrs and most parttime.they will most likely cut back after the opening rush anyway.

tir 6 years, 8 months ago

I was wondering when the old Dillons on Mass. St. was finally going to be torn down so construction could start on the new one. It's been months since they closed and it looks like nothing is happening on the site. This concerns me because the longer it takes for them to start building, the longer it will be before the new Dillons is finished. What is the holdup? I thought they were chomping at the bit to get started on the new store. They ought to consider that they are losing a lot of business meanwhile. I don't like the Dillons on 23rd, and have been shopping elsewhere for most of my stuff.

Eric Neuteboom 6 years, 8 months ago

Totally agree! And man, the prices there are awful. That's the one thing I've noticed is that these new stores have much higher prices. I miss my quaint dirty Dillon's.

Stephanie Hull 6 years, 8 months ago

Completely agree! Why is the milk miles away from the produce?!?

irvan moore 6 years, 8 months ago

they put up a big fence around it a couple of days ago, i think it's going down.

Gareth Skarka 6 years, 8 months ago

For more information on Queen Lizzy's Fish and Chips, you can check out their crowdfunding project on IndieGoGo -- which their using to boost their starting capital by appealing directly to foodies and friends:

There's a video from Matt Poulton detailing the plans, information about the menu, etc.

Brad Barker 6 years, 8 months ago

Looks like fans of fish and chips can help Queen Lizzy's get started with a contribution at

Steve Jacob 6 years, 8 months ago

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

kls1973 6 years, 8 months ago

Can anyone tell me what is going in at the spot where the old Burger King was at on 23rd? It looks like a SunFresh store kinda, but I'm sure that's not the case...

kls1973 6 years, 8 months ago

thanks! I figured it had to be some sort of grocery type store.

Chad Lawhorn 6 years, 8 months ago

No. Not Whole Foods. Natural Grocers, which is a regional chain of grocery/vitamin supplements. Here's one of several articles we have had on it:

Thanks, Chad

akt2 6 years, 8 months ago

It looks like pulling into and exiting the new Dunkin' Donut shop will be a nightmare. Especially in the morning. Just know to not be in the right lane when you enter the intersection at 6th and Michigan because the guy in front of you is going to stop for donuts.

kls1973 6 years, 8 months ago

isn't there a new turn lane in front of Anderson's? And I don't think that you can exit onto/enter from 6th at the DD parking lot. Now for those folks wanting to continue north on Michigan, that could be a little dicey once you've cleared the intersection at 6th.

Eugehne Normandin 6 years, 8 months ago

You may need an extra large coffee while you wait to get back on 6th street.

Mike Ford 6 years, 8 months ago

uh oh...they're admitting they can't afford to finish

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