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What impact do you think the Hobbs Taylor Lofts will have on downtown Lawrence?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on August 22, 2005

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Photo of Stacey White

“Hopefully it will help keep downtown strong and vibrant, and spark some additional development in that area.”

Photo of Nick Spacek

“I think there are going to be problems right after it opens, even though they knew they were moving in across the street from a live music venue.”

Photo of Connilyn Benson

“I think that there will be a potentially good economic impact on downtown. But there will be a negative impact on the homeless because it will add more pressure to push them out of the area.”

Photo of Matt Roman

“I’ve actually heard that they might re-do that whole block and get rid of the Bottleneck, which would be a travesty.”

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neopolss 12 years, 7 months ago

Maybe downtown will look like less of a dump now.

No, it won't. It will continue to degrade as party goers drive down with their thumping bass and the students try to act sophisticated by drinking their lattes on the porch. Then we'll post officers downtown to catch the storeowners who try to remove the homeless stench from the sidewalk by using a garden hose.

lunacydetector 12 years, 7 months ago

i don't think it will have that much of an impact. can we expect the county to keep its valuation very low so as to not cramp the new residents' pocket books? can we expect its neighbors' property valuations to increase to make up for it in a couple of years?

can we expect even more empty office space downtown and elsewhere? we can't have a wal-mart out west, but we can have all the vacant offices and apartments you'd ever want or ever need, all over town.

pathetic planning should've been the story.

then there is the zona rosa west lawrence all the do-gooders are gaga over. of course, that and its like will have the biggest impact against the downtown, but nobody cares.

perhaps hobbs will drive up the already over inflated rents but especially the taxes for the neighbors. they're classifying hobbs differently, which makes me suspect they won't have to pay their fair share.

but then again, i could be wrong about everything. i doubt it.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 7 months ago

The concept of going up instead of out(sprawl) is good. People living in downtown areas is not new. My grandparents lived in the Shirkmere Hotel of downtown Wichita well over 50 years ago. My aunt and uncle owned the small grocery store in the building. Fine dining, Rexall Drug Store, barber and a beauty shop were all housed within the structure as well. It was located at a busy intersection.

It is possible for the residents not to hear the Bottleneck's vast array of music. I live directly across the street from a band who play rather loud music. When the windows and doors are shut nothing can be heard. The late night rockers and new residents will learn to get along.

Hopefully the new landscape will be beautiful and well maintained.

Border's dropped the ball big time on the landscape issue. Maybe it's time to let Border's know we want them to get their act together and clean it up. Hey Journal World what's up with that? They did a great disservice to the neighbors who did not want them there in the first place. They are expected to maintain the right of way like everyone else. Did they complete the landscaping as designed on their site plan?

Hilary Morton 12 years, 7 months ago

I don't think people are actually going to live in HTL full-time. I'm sure it's a retreat for those who live in Leawood or west Lawrence for the weekend, or summers.
Since I was 7, I've lived within walking distance of downtown, and I'm welcoming these people. I just think it's a huge eyesore, and placed so poorly. There is not enough parking at Borders, and it's far too close to the street. I would like to see a sidewalk over there, if the lower class is allowed to walk on it.
There's not a ton of space to build downtown. Why not focus on improving conditions of my neighborhood, East Lawrence? So many completely broken down homes, cracked sidewalks and roads? Maybe higher-end developments would impact our neighborhood more positively. Downtown is fine the way it is.

Kyle Rohde 12 years, 7 months ago

Have you looked at the prices of the place? People are living there full-time. 5 or 6 KU professors have already bought places there and are moving out of West Lawrence and back towards downtown, which is great to see. Hopefully it spurs more development, even if it means razing part of the decrepit East Lawrence housing.

christie 12 years, 7 months ago

I think it's wonderful I wish they were more affordable. I hope the do tear down that awful block across the street and re-build it. Especially the bottleneck.

Ceallach 12 years, 7 months ago

ld: you made some very good points about the taxes. The lofts are not going in so the tenants can mingle with the locals. They are the first step in transforming the downtown area, at least in Boog's dreams.

hilary: I think rohdek's post concerning development downtown and razing some of the homes in East Lawrence answers your question. It appears the city has decided not to improve EL. The Bottleneck, La Familia and others will be replaced by more upscale eateries and entertainment.

I do not see any possibility of co-existence. If KU faculty are already moving to the lofts the gap will be set. Lawrence cannot be equated to other cities its size. The disproportionate percentage of educators and students bring a different atmosphere than other professionals would bring to the downtown area of middle sized cities. The two philosophies are mutually exclusive. If HTL is successful it will mean the end to many enterprises in that area -- however, it will be the beginning of other endeavors that will be patronized by a different group of locals. Things change and when they do people adapt.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 7 months ago

While I support the Harris concept I do not belive nor would I support the demolition of the buildings across the street. That area provides character and charm. Everyone who bought Hobbs looked around their new neighborhood and hey it's all about living and working together. If I bought a Hobbs it would be in my best interest to appreciate history and the good mexican food.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 7 months ago

One new tenant will likely hit the Bottleneck once in a while. Her daughter can always walk across the street if that's her best and safest choice. The folks I know are looking forward to the current downtown activity including the Bottleneck venue.

rhd99 12 years, 7 months ago

I confess I don't know much about the Hobbs Taylor Lofts issue, but I do know that in that area of the Bottleneck & Borders, that is a vibrant area of economic activity. What are they doing with that building across from the lofts? Seems to me that the city commission or SOMEONE needs to demolish unused buildings & return the money THEY spent to the taxpayers.

bluedog 12 years, 7 months ago

Speaking of homeless...what ever happened to the plans for a homeless softball game?

lunacydetector 12 years, 7 months ago

I don't think Hobbs will have an impact of being a "destination" place downtown. so there are lofts, a bank and even more empty offices? it doesn't sound real touristy to me.

Ragingbear 12 years, 7 months ago

How can we expect to keep "Mom&Pop" stores, as well as other downtown businesses in place when the room is being taken up by large franchise stores, and overpriced high-rise apartments? Furthermore, the proximity of these apartments and lofts will raise the property value of the lots on and around Mass st. thus raising rent. The rent downtown is what makes it so hard for these small, local businesses to stay in place.

And am I the only one that thinks it's ironic that the commission allowed these super-priced apartments downtown while at the same time fighting the Wal-Mart on 6th &Wak?

nlf78 12 years, 7 months ago

I hope that it doesn't snowball into loosing all our small local businesses, bars and restaurants in the downtown area. That would be a shame to loose such history for a bunch of luxury condos. Definitely not worth it...

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 7 months ago

Just what I want to do - pay a quarter to a half million dollars for an apartment across the street from Last Call. I can go to sleep at night to the sound of hip-hop, fighting and gunshots, and wake up to bum fights. Ah, dare to dream...

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 7 months ago

It's all about snowballs and slippery slopes! After HTL residents move in, The Bottleneck and Last Call will degenerate into Banana Republics [I can dream, can't I?] and another Starbucks.

rhd99 12 years, 7 months ago

Bow, good call! Few questions though for you & for all here to consider: What kind of formula did these HYPOCRITES in the City Commission use when thumbing their noses at Wal-Mart, yet while supporting this Hobbs Taylor project? Which was cheaper? Which project allowed US, the taxpayer to get more bang out of our bucks?

cutny 12 years, 7 months ago

Yes, great. Let's let this devolve into another battle on the merits(?) of adding another Wal-Mart to the city's landscape. Get over it! There is one in town already. There is no need for another. You have a car, right? So...get in your car and go there. Be sure to load up your home with a bunch (more) items made from plastic in China and don't forget the discounted junk food. Smile at all the people who working there who live below poverty level and thank your lucky stars that you just saved two bucks...WooHoo!

kansaskev61 12 years, 7 months ago

Hey Cutny!

It's all about the savings honey! If our unions didn't make it impossible to manufacture a quality product at a reasonable price, we wouldn't have to go to China. Are you trying to tell me you don't have any "plastic" made in China in your house. Give me a break. If you choose toffu over junk food, great eat away but don't judge me because I'm looking for and can find lower priced EVERYTHING at Walmart. I would love to shop and support downtown, but I'm not a rich college kid with Mom and Dad's resources. I dont' know your age but when you have to start supporting a family and actually work for a living you will embrace stores like Walmart because you HAVE to, not because you WANT to!]

Jump off that liberal bandwagon, think for yourself and just learn to embrace the Walmart!

quietgirl 12 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the people who move into the HTL will actually have enough money to keep the 'mom and pop' stores alive.

rottenkc 12 years, 7 months ago

Downtown is the heart and soul of the city, am I wrong? So the "hypocrits" of the City Commission are merely protecting the vitality of its most important asset. The addition of Sprawlmart at 6th&Waki area would potentially draw people away from downtown which goes against the Lawrence Comprehensive Plan.

HTL helps to promote the vitality of downtown - and although I also worry about some of the effects of the HTL I can also see the benefits it could have on downtown businesses. Increasing the residential density downtown helps to provide a healthy base economically to businesses.

I think diversity is the name of the game - diverse housing, diverse people and economic situations, diverse modes of transportation, etc.

we should be happy that lawrence has a fairly progressive commission - imagine the alternative . . . . . .

Byrne 12 years, 7 months ago

... "think for yourself and just learn to embrace the Walmart!"

Hooboy, that one just made my day.

BunE 12 years, 7 months ago

I like the lofts, I am not sure that Lawrence is a loft town, but what the hey, eh? I just hope its better built than some of the "sprawl" to the west and south.

Once again, the addled right has played its hand and reminded us that they can only see to the end of their driveway. The only bandwagon that I see is the conservative spin wagon that is destroying America. I hear the same talking points regurgitated everyday: Tax cuts are working - Yeah if you are in the upper 10% of wage earners.
Iraq is keeping us safe - Yeah unless you are in uniform (for now) Cindy Sheehan is a traitor - Yeah so much so she sacrificed her son Our judges must be stopped - Yeah as long as they are writing opinions Mr Dobson doesn't like (or understand) We need more god in our country - Yeah, it helped ol eric rudolph be a good boy.

Go ahead, blame the unions, go ahead look for only the cheapest thing you can. Make sure only your family is safe. Mass Street, Lawrence, Kansas, USA, Earth - we are all in this together, start acting like it.

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 7 months ago

Hopefully the Bottleneck or La Familia won't close, they are both fine establishments. I agree that the tenants will have to lock their BMW's due to Last Call. That place is rough. Hopefully the lofts won't bring an uppity, snobbish feel to downtown but they probably will. It ought to fit in good with the homeless and barrage of cig butts. My hope is that it won't raise the taxes and push out the businesses I have grown up with and grown to love.

Todd 12 years, 7 months ago

There's a lot of gloom and doom here. Downtown isn't as fragile as people talk it up to be. (IMHO) A 32-unit building that'll house a max. of 100 people probably isn't going to make or break downtown. (again IMHO)

People keep saying, "Who's going to be able to live there? No body wants it." and stuff like that. I'm thinking and couple with 2 incomes can afford the one bedroom unit. That's some high living in your early married/co-habitating years too. Hey, HTL isn't my favorite flavor but I still like downtown condos/lofts.

Ceallach 12 years, 7 months ago

Property taxes in Lawrence are skyrocketing in areas that are not next door to a complex of 32 homes, each listed from $200,000 up. There is no way their presence will not increase taxes, unless some unholy alliance was forged between the commissioners and the developers.

neopolss 12 years, 7 months ago

The softball game was scheduled to be last weekend, but someone dropped the ball in the park, and the intruding pesticide/herbicide weed population dashed all hope of ever finding it again.

The end result - the homeless will have to find a new activity, such as petitioning the city for a new ice cream store in the Taylor-Hobbs lobby.

Ceallach 12 years, 7 months ago

BunE: You bring up some valid concerns. These issues impact our lives whether we are liberal or conservative in our views. However, in fairness, Cindy Sheehan is not a traitor but neither was the sacrifice hers. Her loss is due to her son's sacrifice. Although it does not lessen her pain, America's military is a volunteer force. There are also many people who do not follow Mr. Dobson who are concerned about the judiciary overstepping their bounds and in effect doing the job of the elected legislature.

You are also right in noting that we are all in this together. For many decades both liberals and conservatives have been weathering the storms brought on by the other sides abuse of power and position. Unfortunately, both sides have their share of heros and villains. The reality of that fact if always more evident when their party is in power.

NorthLawrenceDude 12 years, 7 months ago

If they would renovate the old Organ Factory into lofts, I would buy one. That old stone building is beautiful. I think East Lawrence could be beautiful as well. There are many old homes just begging for restoration.

Someone told me we have a gay bar in North Lawrence now. Is that true? I am not against it, just wondering. This person said they saw an ad in a KC paper promoting it.

Ceallach 12 years, 7 months ago

Can anyone think of a city, when renovating and "bringing back" their downtown area, that has not outpriced previous residents and businesses? I may be wrong but I think it is to be expected. With each building or renovation of an existing building, the prices were such that a large-scale displacement of former residents takes place.

The more metro the downtown population becomes the more the shops and restaurants will reflect the residents tastes and needs. I'm not even saying that is a bad thing, I just cannot think of a city where that did not happen. If I were giving 200 up for a downtown condo, I would expect to be able to do most of my business in or around my neighborhood. Larger cities do just that. Neighborhood shops providing the residents every day needs.

nlf78 12 years, 7 months ago

NLD - I love that old building too. It's just been sitting there for years. I'd prefer to buy an old house and bring it back to its glory than move into a luxury condo.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 7 months ago

I'm ready for a 120-floor skyscraper in Lawrence...

...any takers?!!?

crohan1978 12 years, 7 months ago

I want to hear how this is President Bush's fault, or the religious right. I can't believe this hasn't been pinned on him yet in Lawrence, everything else is, why not this you extremist lefties?? LOL

1derer 12 years, 7 months ago

cause the lefties are the ones moving in


Hilary Morton 12 years, 7 months ago

Man, there are some stupid people who live in this town. I really don't think the Bottleneck will go under. It brings lots of great shows, and sells out frequently.
For those of you pissed at the people who don't like big coorporations, you're clearly not from Lawrence. On our birth certificates at LMH, it says we must keep this town independent as long as we're here. You're clearly not from here, and haven't shed a tear when the field you first kissed a boy in is now Fall Creek Farms, or when Woolworth's was killed for the sake of a f*cking McDonald's that fell a few years later (but I will bless the demons who brought us Chipotle in it's place....mmm.....burritos). Just get used to Lawrencians complaining, and shut up already. Bush is a douchebag, but this one isn't his fault. Don't expect us to be thoughtless, angry hippies. Just expect us to complain a little, ok?

swamp_rat 12 years, 7 months ago

As if parking isn't bad's gonna get worse!

sunflower_sue 12 years, 7 months ago

Hilary, I was going to point out "as a stupid person" that Chipotle is owned by ph***ing McDonalds...but BP beat me to it.

Woolworth's was also a big corporation. And they were killed by shoplifters.

I'll not disagree with you about Bush.

Ceallach 12 years, 7 months ago

Surely for the price tag, those condo owners will have reserved parking places!

The question is correctly stated asking "what" impact it will have and not whether or not it will have an impact. It's there, it will have an impact. Here's hoping something positive will develop for most people and businesses involved. I think it is daydreaming to expect no change in the area when the city planners are dreaming about the changes they want it to make.

Ceallach 12 years, 7 months ago

How many ways can such a blah question be addressed :)

There is always hope for tomorrow's question. All y'all have a good night!

swamp_rat 12 years, 7 months ago

Ceallach, they do have reserved parking in the basement. I was referring to the ogling friends coming over to visit them in their "posh pads". They'll have to park on the street or in Borders lot. (Not that Border's has any room to spare from all the non-readers already taking up that lot space.)

ms_canada 12 years, 7 months ago

Hi Guys - my computer was in the psych ward for a week. It had a nervous breakdown, poor thing, so will you forgive me if I respond to a question regarding saving money because of the high gas prices. What is wrong with this picture? ms canada lives on the river bank. On the opposite river bank and a little to the left, she can see a huge oil refinery. Lots of oil in her province of Alberta. She goes to the service station and almost has a heart attack. the price today is $1.03. Great you say! until you realize that is per litre. And how many litres in a gallon. Just over 4. How would you like to pay that much per gal. I will be doing a lot of walking where I can. Also on the topic when does a human become a person or vice versa. At conception of course.

Hilary Morton 12 years, 7 months ago

I know Chipotle's owned by McDonald's, people. I prefer it to McDonald's. You see, I have myself a little Chipotle addiction, and it's the only fast food I eat. I've gone to Qdoba a few times, and it doesn't compare. I think Chipotle puts a little crack in their rice or something. I'm always just a little proud that McDonald's did not go so well downtown, and neither did Subway. That's cool. I think Chipotle is safe, but I'd take back the old photo booth, and diner counter from Woolworth's any day of the week. And for those of you bitching so much about EVERYTHING, here's a thought: HTL is not coorporate. It's local. Harris construction is not owned by Starbucks. Just some rich dude from West Lawrence. Isn't that a little worse? :)

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