Big industrial building at VenturePark starting to take shape; search for tenant continues
photo by: Chad Lawhorn
One of the largest buildings under construction in Lawrence is about to get a lot more visible to motorists along 23rd Street.
Economic development leaders on Monday hosted a “wall-raising” ceremony for the new industrial building at VenturePark, the city’s new industrial park near 23rd Street and O’Connell Road.
Crews raised one concrete wall for the building on Monday morning and expect to raise 76 others by the end of the week, which will put the 153,000 square foot building on track to be completed by October.
The building will be the first for VenturePark, which the city opened for industrial development in late 2014. The building, however, has yet to attract a tenant. Kansas City-based VanTrust Real Estate is constructing the building on speculation, meaning it doesn’t yet have a tenant for the building.
Steve Kelly, vice president of economic development for the Lawrence chamber of commerce, said VanTrust is actively marketing the building to several prospects. He said this new stage of construction on the project should help potential tenants see the possibilities.
“I have a lot of belief that having this first building underway will generate some momentum for the park,” Kelly said.
The building is designed to be flexible in the type of companies it could house, including both distribution and manufacturing firms. Kelly also said the building can accommodate one large user or perhaps as many as five smaller users.
Lawrence city commissioners have approved a partial tax abatement and free land for the project in hopes that the new building will attract companies that can grow Lawrence’s job totals.
Kelly said the anticipated Oct. 1 completion date is earlier than once envisioned. The exterior of the building is expected to take shape in roughly one week’s time because construction crews are using a “tilt-up” wall system that allows concrete walls to be poured flat on the construction site and then tilted up via the use of cranes.