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Dunkin' Donuts plans to open second Lawrence store
Workers driving into downtown each morning may soon have one less excuse not to bring donuts to the office. Plans are in the works to build a new Dunkin' Donuts at the corner of Sixth and Michigan streets, said Sonny Patel, the owner of Lawrence's lone Dunkin' Donuts at 521 W. 23rd St. The store on 23rd Street will remain open. Patel said he's wanted to expand for years in Lawrence, but had to await corporate approval. "We have a lot of customers bugging us for a new location," Patel said. "They tell me that they have to drive all the way across town for their coffee."The new store - which would be on the northwest corner of the intersection - will include a drive-through lane. The store will be housed in a new 2,400-square-foot building that will replace the current building on the corner, which used to house a medical supply and equipment store. Patel said he believes the location will be a good one because it is along a main route to downtown and to Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The project currently is seeking site plan approval from city planners. Patel said he hopes to start construction in February and have the new store open in July. Perhaps the only downside: The site previously had been approved to house a Church's Chicken store, which would be the first in the city. That deal fell through. No official word on whether Church's is still looking for a site in the city, although there will be several restaurant sites available near the intersection of Sixth and Wakarusa as development progresses there. ¢ As bloggers on this site previously speculated, it is an O'Reilly Auto Parts Store that has started construction on a vacant lot east of Checkers on 23rd Street. O'Reilly spokesman Mark Merz said the new store is part of a company-wide plan to build new prototype stores in several markets. The new stores typically are larger than existing stores and feature wider aisles and more "retail showroom" space.The site - which fronts 23rd Street - previously had been proposed for apartments. Merz said the new store likely will open in about six months. The current O'Reilly store at 1008 W. 23rd St. will remain open while the new store is being constructed. But eventually that store will be remodeled for a new retailer, said local commercial real estate agent Paul Cromer. He said he has signed a tenant for the space, but said he could not yet reveal the identity of the business.