Archive for Monday, March 12, 2012

Town Talk: Dog treat bakery and art boutique coming to downtown; housing development seeking to cut back on sidewalk requirement; land transfers for the week

March 12, 2012


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News and notes from around town:

• There soon will be a new business in town for dog-lovers or just lovers of dog-inspired arts and crafts. Lucky Paws Bakery and Unique BARKtique will open in late April at 729 1/2 Mass. which is in the space above Francis Sporting Goods.

Raven Rajani will open up the multi-faceted business. Part of the business will be devoted to the baking and selling of homemade dog treats and biscuits.

“I adopted my first dog in 1990 and looked at the ingredients and decided they were just awful,” said Rajani, who has been baking dog biscuits for her own animals ever since.

Rajani said all the biscuits are made from human-grade products, meaning most of the meats and other materials are the type you would find at your grocery store.

“You can eat them,” Rajani said. “You definitely can.” (I’ll take her word for that. I ate a dog biscuit for this job once. When I wrote an article about Lawrence’s Good Dog! Biscuit & Treats company, they also insisted on proving their biscuits were edible for humans.)

A print from Chad Lawhorn&squot;s Dogs Playing Pool Art Collection. This one is entitled "Ruff-Roh!"

A print from Chad Lawhorn's Dogs Playing Pool Art Collection. This one is entitled "Ruff-Roh!"

A print from Chad Lawhorn&squot;s Dogs Playing Pool Art Collection. This one is entitled "That&squot;s not a Biscuit!"

A print from Chad Lawhorn's Dogs Playing Pool Art Collection. This one is entitled "That's not a Biscuit!"

Rajani also places an emphasis on having several grain-free variety of treats, because she notes that dogs are mainly a meat-based type of creature. Rajani also will do custom baking, if you have a special treat in mind for your canine friend.

The other side of the business will be dog-inspired arts and crafts. Instead of having a boutique, Rajani will have a Barktique. The store will carry everything from unique dog collars to dog clothing to charms for the people to wear and dog-themed mosaics. (I assume they are for your house, but I guess you could hang them in the dog house.)

“It will just be really funky is the best way to describe it,” Rajani said.

The idea of a Barktique had me pretty excited, but then Rajani deflated my spirits much like the dog who realizes he will never catch his tail. She informed me that the Barktique won’t have any of the fine framed art of dogs playing poker or pool. As you can see from the photos to the side of this article, I’m a connoisseur. These two exquisite pieces were found by an art friend of mine in a quaint little shop also known as a Dumpster.

I made my best pitch to Rajani to add the genre, but I don’t think it is going to happen. I think my wife got to her first. She probably bought a bunch of dog biscuits for my lunch too.

• Dogs and sidewalks go together. But city commissioners will have to decide whether the current tight economy means now is the time to cut back on the number of new sidewalks built in the city.

Commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting will consider approving new plans for a residential development on about 15 acres of property just south and east of 25th Terrace and O’Connell Road. The property eventually will be developed with a mix of about 200 single-family homes and duplex units.

But the development group — which is led by Lawrence businessman Bill Newsome — is asking for a variance that requires sidewalks to be built on both sides of all streets of the development. Newsome is proposing to build sidewalks on just one side of each street of the development.

Newsome has told city leaders the development is designed to provide starter housing for the community. But the requirement to have sidewalks on both sides of the street will add at least another $1,000 per lot to the development.

“We are extraordinarily sensitive about costs because for this development to achieve the absorption necessary to work economically, it has to fit in the financial model of starter-priced housing,” Newsome wrote in his request to the city. “Starter-priced housing is also critical to support the city’s economic development efforts across the street at the Farmland site.”

The city’s planning staff is recommending approval of the variance. The city code has required all projects after 2006 to provide sidewalks on both sides of a new street. But staff members noted this project originally was approved prior to that code requirement. The project now needs a variance because many of the lot lines have had to be redrawn after Cornerstone Southern Baptist Church signed a contract to purchase about 8 acres of the original development to eventually build a new church.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall.

• Another week, and another list of property sales that have occurred in Douglas County. Click here to see the list of land transfers as recorded by the Douglas County Register of Deeds for the week ending March 5.

There were a couple of commercial sales of note. It appears the shopping center next to Hy-Vee on Clinton Parkway has sold. The property originally was owned by Wichita-based R.D. Shopping Center LLC. But now the property has been sold to a group including James Hruska, Lori Toren and Lincoln-based Falgers Inc. That trio is the same group that formerly owned 2525 Iowa Street — where Discovery Furniture is located — before it sold the property to the furniture store in January.

It also appears that Capital City Bank has taken a much larger ownership interest in the Hobbs Taylor Lofts building in the 700 block of New Hampshire Street. The land transfers indicate the bank — which has its Lawrence headquarters on the ground floor of the building — now owns 718, 722 726 and 740 N.H. St., which I think would represent all the ground floor commercial space in the Hobbs Taylor building. The property previously was owned by 8th and New Hampshire LLC, which had Lawrence businessman Stephen Craig as its lead agent. Other than the bank, much of that ground floor space has been vacant. I’ll check to see if there are any new plans in the works for the space.


irvan moore 3 years, 6 months ago

keep the sidewalks and cut the profit margin, sidewalks are will add value to the property

1southernjayhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't agree. Sidewalks to nowhere; they are just for strolling the neighborhood, which is fine and I hope they get plenty of use. Sidewalks on both sides is excessive and will just add to the development costs which will add to the price of the homes which makes them incrementally that much less affordable. That's how it works in the real world.

grimpeur 3 years, 6 months ago

Free parking on the street is excessive. 12-foot lanes are excessive. The fact that most car trips are less than a half mile is excessive. And expensive.

Sidewalks should be installed on both sides of every new street, and on both sides of every street within a mile of every school in town.

hipper_than_hip 3 years, 6 months ago

$1000 at 4.5% for 30 yrs is $5.07 per month.

Bob Forer 3 years, 6 months ago

You need to cut that $5.07 figure in half. The cost is $1,000 per lot. If given an exemption, the developer would effectively save on the average $500.00 per lot, since he still would have to provide sidewalks for roughly 1/2 of the homes built.

Moreover, I doubt that the $500 per lot savings will have little, if any effect on the bottom line cost to the buyer. The asking price will be the same regardless of whether that particular home has sidewalks.

The developer will not automatically pass that savings on to the consumer. Regardless of the presence or absence of sidewalks, they are going to try to realize as much money as the market will bear. The result is that the savings is de minimis to all involved except the developer, who is guaranteed to cut in half his costs for sidewalks.

Everyone should be required to abide by the same rules. I say no.

Nice try, but it will have absolutely no affect on the affordability of a home. On the other hand, it will increase the developer's profits by roughly $100,000.

Bob Forer 3 years, 6 months ago

P.S. My "nice try" comment was not directed at your simple but telling financial analysis, hipper, which is much appreciated, but instead at the developer, as in "nice try, but your motive has nothing to do with making the home more affordable to the buyer and everything to do with increasing your profits."

hipper_than_hip 3 years, 6 months ago

No offense taken. I was just trying to show that the $1000 added to the cost of the lot is peanuts and won't make or break a deal to buy the house.

RoeDapple 3 years, 6 months ago


It'll probably last longer than the vinegar and oil boutique . . . but not by much.

somedude20 3 years, 6 months ago

In bad times people will still spend a pooch ton of loot on their animals. Best of luck!

pace 3 years, 6 months ago

Every developer for a hundred years has pleaded that sidewalks and parking is just too expensive. We have plenty of cheaply built, poorly planned development. It falls on us to maintain or improve areas. It should be done correctly in the first place. The sidewalk requirement should be kept.

frankfussman 3 years, 6 months ago

Chad, et al., Here's an employment ad from KansasWorks, for work at Sears in Lawrence. So... Maintenance Supervisor Updated: 02/17/2012 City: Lawrence, KS Locate Company: Sears Source: Sears

sherbert 3 years, 6 months ago

One sidewalk down a street should be fine. Besides, once the house sells, the home owners have to shovel and maintain the sidewalk, not everyone wants on in their yard.

Boogieman 3 years, 6 months ago

The Sears maint supervisor opening is at the Kmart distribution center, in north Lawrence.

Steve Jacob 3 years, 6 months ago

Downtown is just too expensive for small offices and retail stores, as Hobbs Taylor Lofts proves. Apartments and restaurants/bars work, and that's it.

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