To the editor:
Recently we learned of development plans for a seven-story building at 11th and Massachusetts. The corner has been underutilized for years, is ripe for development, represents another opportunity for Lawrence to develop and implement a Downtown Urban Design Plan prior to granting a building permit and tax subsidies that will likely be requested. Such a plan would tell us what and where to build and how to design what we build while protecting historic neighborhoods around the downtown.
This intersection is the front door of Lawrence, nestled among three historic buildings. The design of the building should be part of a plan for how we want downtown Lawrence to look and function. Our decisions today will impact future generations to come. The developer states in the Journal-World, “It is going to be a tall building, it has to be a tall building to make it work.” This statement is reason to pause. There are many factors that should be considered by the developer and his architects to create a building that conveys our rich history, the times we live in today and what we can become.
I look forward to seeing the design of the proposed building and recommendations from local and state historic preservation professionals. We all have ownership in this development. The demand for apartments and a drug store downtown Lawrence is not sufficient reason to build it. We have to get this right. Let’s develop a comprehensive Downtown Urban Design Plan before this project is approved.