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Archive for Friday, September 21, 2012

Building plan passes historic muster

September 21, 2012

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A plan for a seven-story apartment and office building at the northeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets has won a key City Hall approval.

The city’s Historic Resources Commission on Thursday night gave unanimous approval to the design of a 121-unit apartment building proposed by Lawrence businessmen Doug Compton and Mike Treanor.

But plans to install a roundabout at the busy Ninth and New Hampshire intersection are still uncertain. Members of the Historic Resources Commission said that decision is best left for the City Commission.

Developers of the proposed multistory building said they were pleased with the outcome.

“We think it is going to be fantastic for downtown,” said Bill Fleming, a Lawrence attorney who represents the development group.

The building — proposed to range in height from 77 feet to 68 feet tall — will have its design further reviewed by the city’s Architectural Review Committee, but the city’s historic resources planner said that review mainly will focus on technical issues such as the type of materials used in construction. She said the major issues of whether the building was too tall or damaged the historic character of the downtown have been settled.

“The discussions with the Architectural Review Committee won’t change the overall size or height of the building,” said Lynne Braddock Zollner, the city’s historic resources administrator.

The project will be the third multi-story building planned for the intersection in the last two years. The height of a proposed multi-story hotel/retail building on the southeast corner of the intersection sparked controversy in the East Lawrence neighborhood.

The Historic Resources Commission twice rejected plans for the multistory hotel, before city commissioners gave the project the approval it needed to proceed.

Fleming said this latest project fared better with the Historic Resources Commission because the proposed apartment building is farther from a residential neighborhood.

Now, city commissioners will wait to hear how the public reacts to plans for a roundabout at Ninth and New Hampshire streets. Fleming said the development group thinks a roundabout will improve pedestrian safety at the intersection.

“It will create some pedestrian islands there,” Fleming said. “It will narrow the distance you have to cross all at once.”

The idea also has a unique tie to Lawrence history, Fleming said. From 1910 to 1929, the Roosevelt Fountain that currently is in South Park was in the middle of the Ninth and New Hampshire intersection.

Fleming said the development group is not proposing to move the Roosevelt Fountain, but it would like to place a piece of public art in the center of the roundabout.

A date for city commissioners to hear the roundabout issue has not been set. The city also will have to hear a request to demolish the existing office building at the Ninth and New Hampshire site. The building has been occupied by Black Hills Energy and other users. Black Hills recently completed a deal with Compton to purchase First Management’s former headquarters building on North Iowa Street.

The plans approved by the Historic Resources Commission call for a building that will be seven stories tall, and will have apartments on floors two through seven. The ground floor will have space for a bank and a drive-thru lane, an apartment clubhouse and about 5,000 square feet of office space.

The building will include 121 apartments, with a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units. The 177,000 square foot building easily could add 200 or more residents to downtown Lawrence, Fleming said.

“We’ve seen some numbers that suggest every person who lives downtown spends $8,000 to $10,000 a year on goods or services downtown,” Fleming said. “If that is true, think about what that can do for downtown.”

Comments

Jean Robart 2 years ago

Exactly why do we need ANOTHER apartment building in Lawrence? What is the occupancy rate now? when did the city become a generation of moneygrubbers? Or have i been keeping my head in the sand for the years I've lived here?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years ago

"Fleming said this latest project fared better with the Historic Resources Commission because the proposed apartment building is farther from a residential neighborhood."

That, and they knew that the city commission would overrule anything but full approval.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 12 months ago

The west side development has effectively killed downtown. If downtown is to be revived we need to see Old Navy,Function Junction,a nice furniture store,a Sony store, more antique stores and one or two almost antique stores. Our flooded retail market will make it difficult to attain such attractions.

Not to mention lower rent to offset the higher taxes for the Mom and Pop's that are so brave.

This apartment,the Summit and the hotel is being built under the guise of infill and saving downtown. Whether or not there is a market for this specific activity is seemingly irrelevant. These new items will only pull from the existing rental market thus we have economic displacement. How much additional economic displacement the Lawrence markets can withstand remains to be seen.

My greatest objections to most of the above is how local government subsidies and new tax designs are funneling money from the local poor and the local middle class to the local rich politically connected.

This http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans and This http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01182008/transcript.html

Also so many new residential developments create the illusion there are more retail dollars available in Lawrence than reality. The never ending quest to take away retail shopping from KCMO metro no matter the expense to local taxpayers.

The failed Riverfront Plaza,Tanger Mall and Baur Farms is evidence the Lawrence sprawled retail design is not sustainable. Smaller tighter retail design produces maximum projections which protects the taxpayers from unnecessary increases in taxes and user fees.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 12 months ago

Why does the voting taxpayer think Lawrence economic growth is lagging? http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/sep/why_do_you_think_lawrence_growth_lagging/

For more information on local development. Kirk McClure Professor mcclure@ku.edu 317 Marvin Hall p: 785.864.3888 f: 785.864.5301 http://www.sadp.ku.edu/urban-planning/people/faculty/kirkmcclure

This blog displays various papers prepared by Kirk McClure on the growth and development of Lawrence, Kansas. http://www.lawrencesmartgrowth.blogspot.com/

Where did $47 million Kansas tax $$$$ go? http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2012-04-27/hightower-report-workers-wages-lost-to-the-boss/

How Companies Use Plain English to Rob You Blind http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2012/9/19/david_cay_johnston_the_fine_print_how_big_companies_use_plain_english_to_rob_you_blind

The July 14 editorial asks, “What’s downtown going to look like five, 10 or 15 years from now?” The answer can be known, and the picture is not pretty. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/jul/24/retail-space/?letters_to_editor

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 12 months ago

A four-way stop isn't any safer than a roundabout for pedestrians.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 12 months ago

The safely of either type of intersection depends on people (drivers and pedestrians) paying attention, and following the basic rules for their use.

So if used properly, the safety of each is essentially the same. The main difference is that roundabouts move traffic thru the intersection much more smoothly and quickly, and for cars, anyway, when collisions do occur, the damage done is typically much less.

For bikes, it's also a matter of following the rules, both by cyclists and cars. If that happens, a roundabout is fine for bikes.

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irvan moore 1 year, 12 months ago

they want a roundabout to improve the view and give a more upscale feel to the intersection, let them pay for it, and don't forget, gotta move those buses and the people who ride them out of the neighborhood

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patkindle 1 year, 12 months ago

i think a historic roundabout at this intersection would be the cats meow

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pizzapete 1 year, 12 months ago

Is there enough space for a roundabout at that intersection? To work well a roundabout should be big enough that a semi or fire truck can navigate it without hitting the curb.

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