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Archive for Monday, April 30, 2012

Revised Ninth and New Hampshire project still fails review

April 30, 2012

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This rendering provided by Treanor Architects shows the revised building plan for a project at Ninth and New Hampshire streets, directly north of the existing Lawrence Arts Center. The plan was rejected Monday, April 30, 2012, by the Historic Resources Commission.

This rendering provided by Treanor Architects shows the revised building plan for a project at Ninth and New Hampshire streets, directly north of the existing Lawrence Arts Center. The plan was rejected Monday, April 30, 2012, by the Historic Resources Commission.

Close is not close enough.

New plans for a multistory hotel/retail building at the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire won over some key opponents Monday night, but the city’s Historic Resources Commission found the proposed building is still too tall to fit in with a historic east Lawrence neighborhood.

“We are not here to help craft a profitable structure,” said Historic Resources Commissioner Michael Arp. “We’re here to make sure what is built there meets the guidelines, and I still don’t believe it does.”

A development group led by Lawrence businessmen Doug Compton and Mike Treanor had hoped new plans that cut one story off of the building would satisfy the Historic Resources Commission. The project eliminated 21 apartments from the design to make for a smaller building that ranges from five stories near Ninth and New Hampshire to three stories along the edge closest to the neighborhood along Rhode Island Street.

“It is disappointing,” said Lawrence attorney Dan Watkins, who represents the development group. “It was a significant reduction in height, mass and uses.”

The project can be appealed to the Lawrence City Commission. If the City Commission finds there are no feasible and prudent alternatives to the project, it can allow the project to move forward despite the rejection from the HRC. Watkins said he would have to consult with his clients before he could comment on whether an appeal would be filed with the City Commission.

The project won two key endorsements before the vote. The city’s Historic Resources staff provided a report that said the new design warranted approval under the various guidelines the city uses for historic projects. The city staff had recommended denial of the previous plans. The leader of the Lawrence Preservation Alliance said his organization also could support the project as meeting the minimum guidelines needed for approval. The organization previously had urged the Historic Resources Commission to reject the plan.

A majority of Historic Resources commissioners, however, said the building was still too large in comparison to the adjacent Lawrence Arts Center. Some commissioners said they wanted to see another story eliminated.

The Historic Resources Commission on Monday took three votes on the project and approved the project on two of three matters. The project was found to be in compliance with the city’s Downtown Design Guidelines and to be compatible with the adjacent Social Service League Building, which is on the local register of historic places. But the project was found to not be compatible with the adjacent North Rhode Island Street Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Comments

thuja 1 year, 11 months ago

It would fit in out at 6th and Wakarusa, the "downtown" of the West side. And probably easier to get approved.

I thought that this is kinda what they envisioned for that area anyway?

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Ward 1 year, 11 months ago

Nobody's commented on the horrendous design. It's an aggregate mashup of five or six incomplete buildings, each being small yet the whole is a monster. Worse than its cousin across the street.

The grass covered empty lot that's become a construction yard and parking doesn't seem to ever had any BMPs or stormwater management that's usually required by KDHE and the city.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

Does the "new design" actually remove one level or is it a "pretend remove" meaning the appearance of removal yet still keeping the top level somehow?

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

The 9th and New Hampshire Summit is not filling up so fast and the cafe space is not coming together. Call it The Luxury Summit Overnight and bingo Lawrence has a new hotel. In fact I believe this could work. Stay for a year,a month,two weeks or simply Luxury Overnight.

This brings on some new tax revenue associated with hotels..... I love this concept.

Empty hotels are not worth much revenue wise on a daily basis.

I am anti economic displacement and pro economic growth. Flooded markets produce economic displacement = not friendly to existing business or taxpayers.

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gl0ck0wn3r 1 year, 11 months ago

“We are not here to help craft a profitable structure..."

At least he's honest unlike many of the faux progressives that burden Lawrence.

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2002 1 year, 11 months ago

I have never been much of a Doug Compton fan, but he has brought the City a good project and the Commission should overrule the historic commission on this one. The "anti" mentality in this town is pathetic. Downtown needs a shot in the arm like this.

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irvan moore 1 year, 11 months ago

it's looks pretty simple, development that brings business to downtown is good, development that takes business to north lawrence is bad

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muddfoot55 1 year, 11 months ago

It looks just like Bert Nash...and that looks like a jail.....

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kef104 1 year, 11 months ago

The HRC was adamantly against Robert Krause and his fine dining establishment only a few years back. The same Robert Krause is now being credited for his renovation work and for inspiring the entire Delaware Street transformation. HRC has a place, but it should only be as a limited source of information. I think it would be more important for the HRC to review current buildings/homes and find ways to assist owners in taking long term care of the properties.

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pizzapete 1 year, 11 months ago

This project is exactly what this city needs, more cheap apartments. Who cares if the structure doesn't fit the area? Think of all the great things apartments bring. Less traffic, less crime, less congestion, more high paying jobs, etc. It's a well known fact that people who live in highrise apartments work harder, shop local, and are better citizens overall than people who choose to live in houses.

We should put up signs on the highway that read: Vistit Historic Lawrence, we have tons of cheap apartments for everyone. Don't think about it, just build it.

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overthemoon 1 year, 11 months ago

sure would be a nice place for the Library.

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KansasLiberal 1 year, 11 months ago

That is an ugly, ugly design. The city should require new downtown construction to be of the 1880's to 1900's style, because that's what the charm of downtown Lawrence is. The place across from The Bottleneck went with that style and it looks great even though it's so tall.

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LawrenceBoy 1 year, 11 months ago

Does the HRC understand that successful commercial enterprise makes preservation possible?

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Eric Neuteboom 1 year, 11 months ago

I've always thought that lot would be perfect for an outdoor amphitheater as an extension of the arts center.

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Andini 1 year, 11 months ago

Is this lot zoned for trailers? Maybe a few from north Lawrence or Gaslight could be relocated there instead.

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 11 months ago

A new very large building with no setback would adversely affect the neighborhood. Neglect would creep deep into the housing stock No neighborhood can withstand the impact. And, I challenge posters to not discredit someone else's neighborhood and home. How arrogant.

If Mr. Compton had followed the development code, he would not have to take his project to the city commission. He is requesting variances from the code, and expecting the city to comply with his requests. If he followed the code, we wouldn't be reading about his plans. CVS, the old KMart property, and others were developed and there was no big deal. They followed the code. Hmmm, they were probably all developers from outside the city. They wouldn't know about our routine requests for variance.

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Liberal 1 year, 11 months ago

Just because it is old does not make it historic...Just because it is old does not make it a classic...see Yugo. Sometimes junk is just junk...

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scaramouchepart2 1 year, 11 months ago

What jobs? Temporary construction jos where most of the actual workers live out of town. Where most of the wait staff and hotel employees live out of town or are students. Our dollars are going out of town with these great jobs. We complain about our dollars going to the Legends and Topeka, but our city mostly support jobs that do not pay enough for people to actually live and spend here. But we give tax breaks to send even more money out of town. Lawrence needs to seriously wake up if our whole economy rests on construction jobs and student part time jobs. The bioscience industry is nice, but does not support the needs of the people wanting to live in Lawrence and work here. Until we do those jobs these developers claim to bring to town are a sham to get the city Comission to ignore the truth and give away tax dollars to go out of town. Marriott is not local.

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Gary Rexroad 1 year, 11 months ago

Speaking as a resident and a taxpayer in Lawrence I feel the latest proposal from Compton/Treanor is a plan the Commissioners should eagerly approve. Our City Commissioners, staffers and the HRC have done a brilliant job listening to and working with all interested parties in an attempt to do the impossible, find a 900 New Hampshire plan perfect for all. While the process is important, the goal should be progress and the current plan provides.

The facts say our commissioners should approve. The plan meets city requirements and codes, has made considerable accommodations to assure the historical nature of the neighborhood is protected and as important, when complete will be a great asset to Lawrence bringing more jobs and people and new money to our community and our Downtown merchants.

I for one support this project because it is good for Lawrence as a whole, creates jobs and helps build business making Lawrence a stronger community.

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flyin_squirrel 1 year, 11 months ago

HRC in Lawrence is a joke. Go out East and you will see historic buildings. Any East Coast person would laugh at Lawrence calling early 1900 houses that need updating historic.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 11 months ago

oh and sweeten the deal by promising a full service natural foods grocery store, book store, day care and assorted other retail. Give it a couple of years and convert them all into Mexican restaurants and bars. The bigger the lies the more they'll love you! They might even help pay for it!

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JackMcKee 1 year, 11 months ago

Here's what you need, Dougie. Release a report showing that the historic district must have a 10 story building to keep its level of certification. Stick a flyer in everyone's utility bill. Of course it's a lie but it worked for the parking garage, 'er library. The Chamber will give you an award for your leadership.

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Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 11 months ago

Historic Rhode Island street looks like a shanty town. Is it historic because the dumpy homes have not had any work done on them since they were built? Another thing, how does the Oread get built in a historic district and a project half it's size does not qualify? Doug, call Thomas and ask him who you need to be greasing at HRC because someone over there is on the take. I would guess Fritzel still has someone at HRC on his payroll to block another hotel from competing with The Eldrige. It makes no sense for the Oread monster to get approved and this project denied.

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Budgets_Smudgets 1 year, 11 months ago

Coconut shells, coconut shells, coconut shells

I am shocked that the HRC could even be required to have yet another to review of something that the public has not seen

When, if ever, is a developer's request a real request to the city? This behind-the-scenes negotiation process is dirty, dirty, dirty. If not illegal. The HRC members seem to be following the law, but the city staff and commissioners seem to be violating it with some considerable abandon.

Private "serial meetings" by members of a public body are illegal. The City Staff understands this well, and advises all city boards to do that, but then they ignore it themselves.

I heard members of the city commission and staff openly admit the same last Tuesday that these meetings are actively occurring on this project. I think Mr. Corliss's schedule book could easily prove this. Admitting a violation of the law at a public meeting does not immunize city staff or commissioners of such violation.

Why is this not being investigated by the Douglas County prosecutor and/or the Kansas Attorney General?

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thuja 1 year, 11 months ago

Cocaine is a serious drug.

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frankfussman 1 year, 11 months ago

These development guys are trying to wear us down. As Town Peterson said, Ap. 24: To the editor:

At Thursday’s Historical Resources Commission meeting, the news broke that the Treanor/Compton group is withdrawing yet another of its proposals for the 900 N.H. lot. The proposal had been denied by the HRC; an appeal was to be considered by the City Commission tonight. The 900 N.H. proposal is controversial because of its enormous size at the border between downtown and East Lawrence.

Treanor/Compton appear willing to adjust the proposal detail by detail, until it is approved. The tactic is to wear opponents down — the time invested in this debate has been enormous, including paid lawyers. The wealthy developers can exhaust the limited resources of the community to pay for continuing the debate, as well as the energy to appear at meeting after meeting to see the “next” proposal.

This is a moment of truth for the city government. Treanor/Compton have wasted thousands of person-hours for city government in considering and reconsidering their proposals. I urge the commission to insist: (1) any proposal for development of this site should involve East Lawrence residents from the outset in its design; (2) building size should not exceed that of the Lawrence Arts Center; and (3) districtwide planning is critical. That is, City Commission should insist on a district study — covering the New Hampshire Street corridor from 11th Street to the river — before considering yet another slightly modified proposal. In other words, City Commission should avoid opportunity-driven, suboptimal, incremental planning and instead insist on intelligent, analyzed and strategic development for our city.

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