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Signs of new business coming to O'Connell
A new grocery store is not on the way, but the first signs of commercial development at 23rd and O’Connell may soon become visible. City Hall staff members currently are processing a request by Lawrence businessman Bill Newsome that would allow his development group to begin building a new road to serve commercial development at the intersection. The road would be just south of Kansas Highway 10 and east of O’Connell Road. Newsome said his development group is close to signing its first tenant for the new commercial area, which is zoned to allow up to 200,000 square feet of new commercial development. But Newsome said the new tenant is not a grocery store, although that remains atop his wish list for the intersection. Newsome declined to identify the business since a lease had not yet been signed. He said the tenant would be a mix between a service and retail business. “With the layout the way it is out there, no matter the size of the first tenant, we have to put in the whole road,” Newsome said. He hopes that building the road — which would be paid for entirely by the development group — will spur other businesses to look at the intersection. Road construction, if approved by the City Commission, would occur later this year. “There is a need for certain retail services out there to serve the immediate neighborhood and a little bit broader area,” Newsome said. Newsome, along with Lawrence developer Doug Compton, also owns the land surrounding the under-construction Wal-Mart store at Sixth and Wakarusa. Newsome said there was no news to report on potential businesses that could locate on the several lots adjacent to the store. Newsome said the national economy has slowed potential deals. “At the end of the day, we’ll have good solid users out there,” Newsome said. “When it is built out, at least part of it will be with restaurants.”So, what’s on your wish list for either intersection?