News and notes from around town:
• Soon, the intersection of Sixth and Congressional in West Lawrence will become a one-stop shop for karate and pizza. (I guess that is one way to slice a pizza.)
No, no, it is not that type of combination. A new neighborhood commercial center is being built at the southeast corner of Sixth and Congressional behind Famous Dave’s BBQ restaurant. As we previously have reported, the center will be a mix of businesses, but I now have more solid information about the tenant mix. Here’s a look:
— Papa Murphy’s Take-’N’ Bake Pizza has chosen the site to house its second Lawrence location, Allison Vance Moore, a broker with Lawrence’s Colliers International confirmed. The company will continue to operate its store at 2540 Iowa near the Applebee’s on South Iowa. But the second location will have a twist (no, the pizzas still won’t be cooked.) The store will have a drive-through. People won’t be able to just drive up and order a pizza to go, but they can call ahead and have one ready for them when they arrive.
— Prime Martial Arts also will be a tenant in the space, said Adam Williams, who is the developer of the shopping center. Prime Martial Arts currently is located in the shopping center at the southeast corner of Sixth and Wakarusa, next to Dillons. It probably is better known as ATA Martial Arts, but it appears the company is in the process of changing its brand name. The new location will continue to offer a variety of karate and martial arts classes for kids and adults.
— Wireless Zone, a Verizon Wireless phone dealer will set up shop in the center. The franchise has several locations back East, but it moved into the Kansas market with a store in Johnson County near Kansas Highway 10 and Woodland. The Lawrence store will be its second location in the state. Both the Lawrence and Johnson County locations are owned by West Lawrence resident Christina Root, who worked in Verizon’s corporate offices for 17 years.
Root said the new store will be the first locally owned Verizon store in Lawrence. The large Verizon store at 23rd and Iowa is owned and operated by Verizon corporate.
— A financial institution will fill the final space in the center. A deal has been struck, but the name of the financial institution hasn’t yet been released because I believe the deal involves the financial institution moving out of its current space. Notice I haven’t used the word "bank" yet. I would look for the new tenant to be a credit union that has a couple locations already in town.
Expect stores in the center to start opening around April. Root said she is confident the intersection — just west of Sixth and Wakarusa — will get good traffic from residents in the area.
“I know I have lived on the west side of town for a long time, and you just get tired of driving to 31st and Iowa all the time,” Root said.
The new neighborhood center is the latest in a string of developments for the area near Sixth and Wakarusa. The construction of Wal-Mart in the last several years brought major attention to the area, and now the Lawrence Community Theatre is underway with construction of its new multimillion-dollar building at the northeast corner of Sixth and Wakarusa. Near the theater, construction of a drive-through Starbucks has begun.
But the really big drivers for development probably have been the large amounts of new apartments being built in the area. The $28 million Hunter’s Ridge apartment complex at Sixth and Stoneridge has added about 300 apartments to the area. And as we previously have reported, the property directly across the street from the neighborhood center has been rezoned to accommodate a couple hundred more apartments. (More detailed plans for the development have been filed. I look through those and give you a report soon.)
“We think we’re in a good area,” Williams said of his development. “It definitely seems like people have decided to pull the trigger on several projects at once.”
• Well, you can ask management for a refund, but that’s all for Town Talk for the moment. I have to get up to KU’s Economic Policy Conference where I’ll be covering an address on the state of the state’s economy. That means I likely will encounter one of the most dangerous beasts on the planet — a two-handed economist. Karate may come in handy.
High-ya!! (Don’t worry, that was just me slicing a piece of pizza.)