Comment history

N. Lawrence development project needs design guidelines, city says

Remember, the developers themselves have stated that they're only on "step 5 or 6 out of 100 steps" towards getting this built.

You can place a pretty good bet that some of those other steps to come include a TIF district, or a TTD, or maybe even some STAR bonds. Maybe all three.

And I'm sure there will be some sizable asks from the City in terms of infrastructure to help this get off the ground.

All in the name of things we "need."

May 2, 2012 at 12:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

City to consider North Lawrence boardwalk development plans

That's my point entirely.

The only thing that the developers have put forth is the required market study that the City requires. Some would also argue that the market study is flawed. In one respect I guess the developers should hope that it is since it pretty clearly points in the direction that Lawrence is over-built on retail (either from a vacancy rate or per-capita perspective).

Other than that, there is no plan on what could be there. It's whatever someone is willing to buy and build. And the developers are asking for the sky when it comes to what they could build.

If someone came along and said "I'd like to build a 50,000 square foot emporium that specializes in rare McDonald's toys" (however misguided that might be), the developers would execute the lease if the price was right.

Until there are concrete plans on what will be built there, what exactly is being voted on? Speculation?

May 1, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

City to consider North Lawrence boardwalk development plans

You seem to be reading a lot into Dan's comments. If I read what was written above it seems to me that he expressed that it could be good or bad for Downtown. All depends on what actually gets developed. Do you remember Bauer Farms?

And if you look at the list of proposed tenants for the North Mass development, you'll see a a proposed ice cream shop, brewery, multiple restaurants, and I'm sure the developers wouldn't say no to a barber shop too (in fact, maybe that's the problem...the developers are unlikely to say no to anything and they're asking for everything).

How is this any different than what already exists in the real Downtown?

May 1, 2012 at 10:21 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence city leaders to ask Kansas legislators for increased speeding fines along K-10, new sales tax for Internet shoppers, SLT to be completed

It's a pretty simple downward spiral on the Internet Sales Tax issue.

If you buy something online and have it shipped to your home (and the seller does not collect sales tax for your area), you are required to report the sale to the state and remit the appropriate amount of tax. No one does this.

Local governments are then forced to raise taxes (both sales and property) to fund the services we all use (like fire/medical, police, infrastructure, etc.). This in turn pushes more people to buy online or in areas with lower tax rates because they want to save a buck. Which then reduces the tax base even further, and causes local sales property tax to go up again. On and on.

Bottom line, if you buy your stuff online or in Johnson County, don't expect Johnson County amenities or complain when your street isn't fixed. The money has to come from somewhere.

December 20, 2011 at 2:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Downtown Lawrence property values, taxes both made significant gains over past decade

The fire at Sunflower Bike was in 1997 and the renovations were complete by 1998. How then to explain the 244% increase since 2001? Methinks it has more to do with real estate speculators paying way too much for surrounding buildings and driving up the value of the non-purchased buildings. Thank you real estate speculators?

August 21, 2011 at 2:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Retail summit

Funny. I didn't notice anything in my post about "whining" about the customers (other than the ones that obviously are using merchants for info before they cheap out and buy their stuff online). What I noticed was customers "whining" that stores weren't open late enough for their needs.

My question was how late is late enough to satisfy your needs? I've been Downtown for a few Final Friday events and you know what I saw? A bunch of people walking around buying nothing.

The answer to successful retail in Downtown Lawrence is not "more people Downtown," it's "more *shoppers* Downtown."

And I'm all for more highly successful businesses Downtown. I just don't want to "poor" [sic] my entire life into it.

May 6, 2011 at 7:11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Retail summit

Everyone enjoys having the owner/operator behind the counter in a small, locally owned business. The professional service and genuinely caring attitude of merchants that are part of their community is what makes the difference when shopping locally (as opposed to some big corporate store).

But what's the answer for these merchants when they have lives of their own to live?

"I'm sorry Mr./Mrs. Merchant, you're not allowed to attend your children's soccer game or school recital because I'm the customer that wants to come in and ask you a bunch of questions about a product that I'm going to purchase online because I'm cheap and don't want to pay a slightly higher price and sales tax versus an online transaction. And I can only come down there after I've eaten dinner. See you at 9 o'clock."

What makes the "owner's time" any less valuable than your own?

May 5, 2011 at 4:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Owner of The Bay Leaf points to Internet, downtown hours as contributors to closure

For years, brick and mortar stores have clung to the belief that in surveys of the shopping public things like selection, personal service, and quality goods are more important than price...because that's what the surveys say.

It is a lie.

Consumers taking surveys don't want to feel like cheapskates so they hedge and say that if the selection is good, the service is excellent, and the quality is of a high-value, then they will gladly pay a slightly higher price. A slightly higher price that allows small, independent retailers who pour their hearts and souls into their businesses and into the community to eek out a very modest living before they too have to attend their children's soccer games and school functions.

But the consumer votes with his/her wallet every time.

If they can save a dime by getting something online, they will. Let someone else pay retail. If they can skip out on paying the sales tax that they're supposed to pay to support the functions of government that we all use, they'll skate in a minute (despite the fact that they're required to report and pay these one does). This places more pressure on local retailers that face higher sales taxes and property taxes to offset those lost revenues from online sales, and tips the balance even further towards online merchants.

To pretend that later hours, a bum-free environment, and more parking would tip the balance towards brick and mortar stores is a pipe-dream.

The bottom line is that most people are cheapskates...they just don't like to think of themselves that way.

April 6, 2011 at 8:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Jane Pennington no longer director of Downtown Lawrence Inc.

I looked through the article and didn't notice anyone "whining about poor sales and big box retailers." Maybe I missed it.

But I was curious about how late you think retailers in the Downtown footprint should stay open. The movie nights I think were on Thursdays when most retailers are open until 8PM. The movies started at dusk with entertainment and giveaways beforehand. Were you looking to shop after the movies were done or during them? I'm confused.

And the BuskerFest events were held throughout the day on Friday and well as during the evening hours...times when many retailers were open. Probably plenty of opportunities to shop.

It might be interesting to poll retailers that stayed open late during the Final Fridays events and gauge their success. Maybe people were buying lots. Maybe people were looking at things that they would eventually buy but didn't. Or maybe there were people wandering with their coffee cups just looking at stuff that they were never going to buy. I don't know.

For me, part of the charm of Downtown Lawrence is it's mix of mom-and-pop retailers that can provide great service and value. That is something you don't get at big box stores. And I'd like to point out that I think it's almost exclusively the job of the retailer to turn gawkers into buyers, but by definition, mom-and-pops also have families to go home to, soccer games to watch, recitals to attend, etc. They can't be in the store 24/7. They could of course hire competent help to staff those other hours when they can't be there, but there's something special about the owner being the one on the other side of the counter. At least in my opinion and that's party what I'm willing to pay for.

I wonder where the balance is.

January 5, 2011 at 10:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )