Archive for Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Menards files plans to build store east of Home Depot near 31st and Iowa

February 20, 2013


The intersection of 31st and Iowa streets may end up becoming a handyman’s haven.

Menards has filed plans at Lawrence City Hall to build a large home improvement center just east of the Home Depot store near 31st and Iowa streets.

Plans call for the store to be built on a portion of the former Gaslight Mobile Home Village, which has been vacated in recent months.

Menards officials weren’t offering any comment on when the store hopes to open, or why it is pursing a Lawrence project after announcing last year that it was placing its Kansas City metro area expansion plans on hold.

“We are working on plans to build in Lawrence some day, but nothing has been finalized,” Menards spokesman Jeff Abbot said.

The project will require a change in course for Lawrence City Hall. The city’s long-range plans call for the former trailer park property to be redeveloped as apartments, not as retail. City officials also have been pointing to property near the intersection of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway as the site for future big-box store development.

A Menards official, though, said that site was examined but found to be unsuitable for the project.

“This site (Sixth and SLT) is very removed from the city’s rooftops and is surrounded by vacant ground on three sides for many miles,” Menards real estate representative Tyler Edwards wrote in a letter to city officials. “Additionally this site is not visible from the existing retail on Sixth Street due to a large hill. The amount of commercially oriented traffic that would pass by the store on Sixth Street or K-10 would be close to none and not enough to make a successful store.”

Plans call for a 162,340-square -foot store, although it wasn’t clear whether that number is the size of the building or also includes outdoor storage yards and such.

The plans also call for about 65,000 square feet of additional retail development in a future second phase. A proposal for the site shows five pad sites along or near 31st Street.

The company is a full-service home improvement store and lumberyard, but also has a few broader categories as well, including a convenience line of groceries and a pet supply and wildlife department, Abbot said.

The proposal would place the two largest home improvement retailer in the city side-by-side, but a Menards official told city planners that is not unusual in other communities.

“This close proximity is a very common occurrence throughout the Midwest at both urban and rural store locations,” Edwards wrote in a letter to city officials. “It is unavoidable that a percentage of shoppers will be pulled from the existing Home Depot store and shop at the new Menards store. Due to Menards’ nature as a regional destination, many Menards shoppers will be new shoppers and come from a greater distance.”

The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission will be the first group to review the plans. The earliest that review will take place is in late April.

City commissioners ultimately will be asked to give final approval for the project.

The mobile home park was vacated last year to make way for a large student apartment complex, but the Texas-based development company pulled out of that deal after further review of the Lawrence market.


thebcman 4 years, 8 months ago

Is Lawrence really big enough to support both stores?

average 4 years, 8 months ago

Apparently someone thinks so. We're not that big... only 20% more owner-occupied houses than Salina (renters don't buy a whole lot of retail home improvement). But, Menards goes head-to-head with HD in Manhattan and St. Joe and Lowes in Salina. Mind you, all three of those have much larger regional drawing power than Lawrence ever will.

FWIW, regional considerations are part of why Menards wants to be south. There are a decent number of owner-occupied homes in Ottawa, Baldwin, and the rural area between. There really aren't very many people west of Lawrence before they start preferring Topeka.

PhilChiles 4 years, 8 months ago

That makes sense to me. Shoppers near those cities have fewer options; shoppers who leave near Lawrence can pretty easily drive to Topeka or KC, too.

average 4 years, 8 months ago

Get a map and start drawing circles. For any commodity product, what category does (or even could, if you have a suggestion) Lawrence have that isn't also already in both Topeka and KC? Nothing comes to my mind. So, what places are closer to Lawrence than either Topeka or KC? Ottawa, with the new 59, but it's still almost identical time to Olathe. After that? Perry (maybe), Tongie, Baldwin and Eudora? And roughly 500-700 rural square miles.

St. Joe is the nearest town with a big-box-lumber store or "club warehouse" for roughly 5500 square miles of NW MO and NE KS. Salina is the nearest town with either of those categories for over 7000 square miles of north-central KS.

As witness, both those towns have 'club' stores (Sam's Club) where one has not sniffed Lawrence.

LogicMan 4 years, 8 months ago

Build it, and I will come buy stuff. And pay lots of sales taxes. And keep buying stuff at Home Depot too.

FlintlockRifle 4 years, 8 months ago

Menards, built the new store on the hill off Wanamaker in Topeka , and Lowe's is just to the north (across road) and they both are always busy, anyway the times i have been over there, love Lowe's ,HD, not that great in my book

absolutelyridiculous 4 years, 8 months ago

There is a God in Lawrence Kansas! I've been driving to Menards since they opened for all my home improvement stuff. HD doesn't hold a candle to them.

Tim Quest 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, in any case it beats another apartment complex.

thefactsare 4 years, 8 months ago

Menards is a low cost provider and not appealing to quality builders. Should have approved Lowe's!

Enlightenment 4 years, 8 months ago

It's true, Menards sells low cost merchandise, but they also sell quality. You just have to may more for the quality.

Enlightenment 4 years, 8 months ago

If Menards builds here, let's hope they staff with knowledgeable employees. Nothing more frustrating than going into Home Depot in Lawrence and have a college student working there that does not have even a basic understanding of building materials.

riverdrifter 4 years, 8 months ago

Won't happen. Neither pays a decent wage. Pay peanuts, get monkeys. Menards is not even as good as HD on product line.

midwestmom 4 years, 8 months ago

Or CARE that they don't know what they are talking about.... Terrible customer service. Pay a little more, hire adults who WANT to have the job - voila! Happy customers and happy employees.

Paul R Getto 4 years, 8 months ago

Menard's in Topeka. Went once. Will not go back. Lots of cheap crap.

i1mred 4 years, 8 months ago

The 6th street would be a much better location. Menards says the 6th street location would not be close enough to the rooftops to support the store, but later claim to be a regional destination and draw customers from a greater distance.

Jay Keffer 4 years, 8 months ago

Big win for Lawrence. Compared the to the Orange Store, you will find they actually put items on sale, and you can get some great deals. Items carried vary from solid name brands to lower cost/quality choices. Choose wisely and save a decent amount of money. Menards also carries a much wider, varied inventory. So many more items than the Orange Store or Lowes. Materials (lumber, flooring, supplies) are good overall quality, but you have to be selective. Sometimes HD or Lowes are worth the extra cost. But Menards wins day-in-day-out. Watch the weekly fliers, which have quite a variety, and you will find what you need goes on sale at some point. They have a decent rebate program, but the rebate is in Menard's store credit. May bother some, but I always end up spending them with no problem.

Not sure what you did Lawrence, but you just got a great store that brings real value - without the HD/Orange Store higher prices/lesser selection and good bang for the buck. They do well about everywhere they go. Check them out.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

58% of the residential in Lawrence is rental property. Nearly 22,000 rental properties and slum lords do not spend money on their properties. This would dictate a downsized inventory.

Does Menards real estate representative Tyler Edwards know this? Does anyone at Menards know this.

Menards perhaps should offer Home Depot a buyout offer?

Menards will discover what Home Depot discovered. That Lawrence is not this hot retail market and that Lawrence is only 65,000-68,000 in population. Any other population number includes students who are gone a total of 90-120 days a year. This would dictate a downsized inventory.

Does Menards know this?

Does Lawrence need one store doing okay or two home improvement stores barely making it?

Sue McDaniel 4 years, 8 months ago

The city will never let it happen, think Lowe's, Red Lobster, no mall, no Macy's, countless others that tried and were shut down........

Joe Hyde 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh goodie. Another big box store adding to the traffic hassles at 31st & Hell.

Don Frey 4 years, 8 months ago

We need Hardees to come back to Lawrence. That's the answer!

skull 4 years, 8 months ago

But...but...Obamacare is killing Menard's business. How are they now planning on opening a new store just feet away from a competitor with Obamacare killing their business? Oh wait, maybe things have changed dramatically in the last two months.

PhilChiles 4 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, didn't they claim recently that Obama was destroying the economy for small family owned businesses like theirs? What a bunch of goobers.

purplesage 4 years, 8 months ago

Menard's offers lots of sales in the form of rebates. The hitch? The rebates are merchandise cards for Menard's. I seem to buy more from Home Depot - but prefer Lowe's as they do seem to have a knowledgable sales associate in each department - even during evening and weekend hours.

LawrenceTownie 4 years, 8 months ago

Menards, Home Depot, and Lowes are all pretty much alike. I was able to buy a really strong painter's ladder from Menards in Iowa 3 years ago, better than I could find anywhere else. They all offer pretty much the same stuff. If you want high quality cabinets, go to a cabinet maker. If you want high quality furnace/air conditioning, go to a local heating/air company. Same goes to plumbing, etc. Use Menards, HD, Lowes for quick stuff or lumber. If Menards is approved for a neighbor to HD, then one of them will suffer. Then "Hamburger Alley" can maybe be known as "Lumberteria". And on that subject why put an Olive Garden two blocks away from an already established, exceptionally good Italian restuarant like Pisano's? Is it possible that Lawrence has a "poor planning committee" sitting on it? NOoooo !!!!! ????? Why would a planning commitee plan a 5 Guys, Sonic, Back Yard Burger, McDonalds, Culvers, Steak & Shake, all within two blocks of each other??? Of course one or more will fail, and it happened to be Back Yard Burger. Very poor planning. Why not try to get one or two of them to open on 6th street between Michigan to Kasold where large plant people work, and can go to over lunch hours? (Hallmark, Lawrence Tech, Kmart, Del Monte, etc.) Wake up LAWRENCE PLANNING COMMITTEE !!!!!! Do better planning for Lawrence to see businesses survive and give the people a variety of areas to shop. How about North Lawrence? Why not try to bring more businesses over there? Forgotten as usual. And no, I no longer live in North Lawrence, I live out South of Lawrence, but still feel that North Lawrence is home too. Wake up people.

nocrybabies 4 years, 8 months ago

Menards is not green or eco-friendly. I live 70 miles from their nearest store and they still insist on filling my mailbox with all their flyers and advertisement. They kill a lot of trees and waste a lot of resources. Not to mention how insulting it is that they think I would be stupid enough to make a 140 mile round trip to buy sometihing in their store that I can easily get near my home.

Alex Keiffer 4 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, Home Depot could use come competition (though it is a little weird that Menards is locating right next to it). I will also agree that Dick's Sporting Goods should come to Lawrence as well. And how about bringing Barnes & Noble to town? Maybe even bring OLD NAVY back to Lawrence?

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