City Hall

City Hall

City approves retail zoning for site across the highway from Rock Chalk Park

March 27, 2013


The property across the highway from the proposed Rock Chalk Park sports village now has the green light to develop into a retail center.

City commissioners unanimously approved a rezoning request for 146 acres at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway. The rezoning will allow for up to 155,000 square feet of retail space in the future.

A portion of the property once was proposed to house the city’s regional recreation center, before the project was shifted to the east side of the South Lawrence Trafficway.

At Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners also approved a plan for the area that says up to 25,000 square feet of retail space on the southwest corner of the intersection and 60,000 square feet on the southeast corner would be acceptable.

The necessary rezoning for those two corners haven’t yet taken place. The new plan will allow retail development on all four corners of the major intersection. The northeast corner is known as the Mercato development, which has zoning for up to 360,000 square feet of retail. Currently, there are no retail developments pending at any corners of the intersection.


Catalano 5 years, 2 months ago

So much for an inviting "gateway" to the city.

George_Braziller 5 years, 2 months ago

The area already looks looks like "Anywhere, USA." If someone put a blindfold on you, drove you there and then took it off and asked where you were you wouldn't have a clue. Could be Overland Park, Omaha, Wichita, Houston, or any of the other nondescript commercial strips of land you see everywhere.

somebodynew 5 years, 2 months ago

This is what happens when they jump too fast at something and don' t take the normal procedures. They left themselves wide open for a law suit if the didn't do this now. Maybe spending all that money on the WalMart suit taught them to just do what they have to in order to "fix" their mistakes.

Catalano 5 years, 2 months ago

I have a conspiracy theory: Schwada knew all along that KU wouldn't go for his site. But this way he could get his commercial zoning without having to wait for the city to jump the (K-10) shark. How much is THIS going to cost the city in infrastructure? East Topeka, here we come!

And, for all the people who want an Olive Garden and Red Lobster in town, here's the perfect location.

jack22 5 years, 2 months ago

There are no surprises here, after all, Fritzel "gave us" those few acres of undeveloped farm land in the middle of nowhere for a recreation center so that he could develop the rest of his property (with little development potential) for maximum profit. It's kind of like when you commit to buying an overpriced mansion that no one else wants and in return the elated realtor hands you a balloon (the balloon being the rec. center). And if you look closely at the print on the balloon, it reads, one hundred and fifty acres is a lot of property to develop, thanks Lawrence city commission, I couldn't have done it without you!

Jack Clayton 5 years, 2 months ago

Ah, sprawl.. causing community, infrastructure and social problems since the 50's

OBVIOUSLY what Lawrence needs more of.

Good one, commish!

Jack Clayton 5 years, 2 months ago

So.. your argument is what exactly?

If there is significant room and need for development/improvements within the boundaries of existing infrastructure (infill), then growth at the edges is not needed.

Funny how in America we like to build our cities and THEN plan them.

Alas, the city commission will probably continue to let prospectors and subdivision companies design Lawrence, and we will become Johnson County just like all the car addicts in West Lawrence want so badly.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

It's how tax dollars are spent and if how they are spent does it increase taxes?

It's a lot about how taxpayers are left out of very large tax dollar spending decisions at all levels of local government.

For instance the $100 million dollar sewage plant should be approved by the voters because local special interests are driving the issue for their own personal profiteering. Do taxpayers want to spend $100,000,000(million) that will only bring on more new tax dollar expenses? Can we say pork barrel?

There is one consequence of helter skelter aimless growth that usually goes unmentioned by the local media,city hall and elected officials - local profiteers are draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

NOT necessary city growth is the result of over several decades of subsidies paid for by the local taxpayer. These range from the obvious to the obscure and include big projects-like the billions we spend on new roads as well as smaller ones-like the tax-breaks that encourage businesses to move to the edge of town and KILL downtowns.

We've subsidized local profiteers at such a basic level for so long, that many people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral. This is false-what we think of as a level playing field is tilted steeply in favor of local profiteers driving development.

A few ways we subsidize profiteers: building new and wider roads building schools on the fringe extending sewer and water lines to not necessary development extending emergency services to the fringe * direct pay-outs to developers

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

What makes anyone think the return to reckless buying of homes at inflated prices etc etc etc is on the horizon?

Who wants to get stuck with a home that market value would not cover the mortgage debt if need be?

Where in the world are the retail dollars necessary to support this monster new zoning?

Do the powers that be honestly believe that retail giants are so stupid as to not realize that the Lawrence retail market is over saturated?

In addition to that thousands of potential shoppers leave Lawrence several times a year for extended periods during spring breaks,semester breaks,holiday breaks, basketball games, three day March Madness tournaments.

Not to mention the 15,000 commuters that leave town 5 days a week... IF they still have jobs.

The republican party threatens the markets everyday they are in office. Reality anyone?

It's a pretend that nothing is pending. Watch and see.

elliottaw 5 years, 2 months ago

there is very little to attract you to downtown unless you are going to eat or drink

George_Braziller 5 years, 2 months ago

Bingo! I live a block from downtown and rarely ever venture over anymore because eating and drinking is pretty much all that's left. I can do that at home.

blondejuan 5 years, 2 months ago

It doesn't hurt downtown. Downtown hurts itself by not being open when 8-5 working people need to shop.

somebodynew 5 years, 2 months ago

Absolutely blondejuan. Downtown is its' own worst enemy. Well, that and the Commission letting it turn into nothing but a bar area. Downtown has always relied on being 'protected', but has shown no flexibility or creative thinking to attempt to draw retail customers to it.

David Reynolds 5 years, 2 months ago

Downtown is its own worst enemy. The Downtown Lawrence organization does not even include all of the businesses within the downtown boundaries.

There is no plan for downtown to sustain itself thus all we get are bars.

There is no organized plan to develop downtown in a way it will attract shoppers. Thus what you get is an entertainment district, not a shopping district. It is a place for college students and the few who occasionally want a change of venue for dinner.

The no growthers/control growthers have strangled downtown resulting in high rents.

Get a real plan to draw people downtown for everyday shopping versus the occasional trip...or maybe none at all. Downtown needs a major drawing card.

Michael Capra 5 years, 2 months ago

BAD SCHWADAS BAD for thinking ahead and having a vision

Jack Clayton 5 years, 2 months ago

So "vision" in this case refers to the dollar signs in eyes of the suburban developers, right?

This sounds great to the people who don't care about sustainability or authenticity or culture, and who get overjoyed when a new big box store comes to town that they can drive to.

But to planners and people who APPRECIATE the fact that Lawrence is not exactly the same as Olathe, this kind of thing represents a sad future for our community.

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