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Town Talk: Developer files plans for East Lawrence apartments

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Surely not even Theodore Poehler could have envisioned this.

Plans are in the works for a new four-story apartment building next to the old grocery warehouse building that Theodore Poehler's heirs built during the early 1900s in the East Lawrence district surrounding Eighth and Delaware streets.

Yes, that's the same East Lawrence district that largely had been forgotten and neglected after Poehler's grocery warehouse empire faded away in the 1950s.

But as we've reported many times, the area around Eighth and Delaware is undergoing a renaissance. The old Poehler grocery warehouse building has been converted into the Poehler Lofts, and the success of that project has the same development team moving ahead with a multimillion dollar project to build another batch of affordable housing in the area.

A team led by businessman Tony Krsnich has filed plans at City Hall to build a 43-unit apartment building at the southeast corner of Ninth and Delaware streets.

We had reported in January that Krsnich was working on plans for another apartment building to mimic the successful 49-unit Poehler Lofts, which was fully leased about 12 hours after Krsnich began taking applications for the largely rent-controlled apartment units.

But the location for the project has moved. Back then, Krsnich was planning to build the project directly south of the Poehler building, which would have placed it near a new city parking lot.

Now, Krsnich has acquired property at 900 Delaware, which is about a block south and slightly east of the Poehler building. It is a vacant lot in the industrial area that houses Star Signs and Allen Press.

The project plans on using the same formula Krsnich and his team used to make the Poehler project financially feasible. It has received tax credits from the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. The credits can be sold to people looking to reduce their tax liabilities, and the money generated from the sale goes to finance the apartment project. As a condition of the tax credits, a certain percentage of the apartment units must abide by rent-control regulations.

The big difference with this project is that Krsnich will construct a new building rather than renovating an old one. I haven't yet seen plans for the new structure, but Krsnich said it will have a more contemporary look than any of the other old buildings in the district.

"I can always tell when somebody builds something new and tries to make it look like it was built at the turn of the century," Krsnich said. "I think it is important that all development be true to the time that it was built in."

The apartment building will have units ranging in size from studios to three bedrooms, Krsnich said. He said they'll be designed with an "artist lofts" concept, which includes wide open living spaces and a minimalist approach.

Krsnich hopes to begin work by the end of this year, but conceded the amount of planning that still must be done may push the start date to early spring.

Krsnich also will be planning for another smaller development in the area. His group has filed plans for a new bistro and cafe at 605 E. Eighth Street. I don't yet have all the details from Krsnich, but it sounds like that project would involve converting an old stone duplex that is just west of the Poehler building. When I hear more information about that project, I'll pass it along.

•••

The Cider Gallery, the combination arts gallery and events space just west of the Poehler building at 810 Pennsylvania St., recently landed a unique attraction.

The Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation has chosen Lawrence and the gallery as a permanent site for its 1 Million Cups series.

The series is a program for entrepreneurs and others interested in local start-up companies. At 9 a.m. each Wednesday at the Cider Gallery, one to two start-up companies will make a presentation and answer questions from audience members.

The series started last week to good crowds, I hear. Lawrence is just the 12th city in the country selected by the Kauffman group to host the program. It joins: Columbia, Mo.; Kansas City; Des Moines; Houston; St. Louis; Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Iowa; Reno, Nev.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Denver; Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Georgetown, Del.

You can find out more about the program here.

Comments

Garth Atchison 1 year, 4 months ago

There just are not enough apartments in this town. At least they are not condos.

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