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Menards files plans to add another 8 acres to development near 31st and Iowa


The same "architect" who "designs" my home "improvement" projects must be in charge of the new Menards project near 31st and Iowa streets. The project is growing before it even gets started.

But unlike the addition of a knitting cabinet in my game room, this addition was expected.

Menards officials have a filed a new annexation and rezoning request at City Hall to add 8.4 acres to their development, which is just east of the Home Depot on 31st Street. The land is part of what is known as the Snodgrass property, but perhaps you recognize it as that ranch-style house that sits next to a nice pond just east of where the Gaslight Mobile Home Village used to be. (Or, if you are some sort of postal freak, maybe we'll just call it 1352 N. 1300 Road.)

Menards has a contract to purchase the westernmost portion of the property, and it plans to create another commercial lot to supplement its Menards store. The pending land purchase won't change the size of the planned store. It still is designed to check in at about 175,000 square feet.

But the purchase will mean that there will now be room for six additional retailers, restaurants or other similar users on the property surrounding the Menards store. The new purchase will allow for a fairly large store to locate on the site. According to a traffic study submitted to City Hall, the lot can accommodate about a 60,000-square-foot store. For comparison purposes, the Hobby Lobby store on 23rd Street is about 50,000 square feet, according to county records.

If you want to compare to some stores that aren't currently in Lawrence, places like Burlington Coat Factory, Toys 'R Us and several major theater chains often open in buildings around the 60,000-square-foot size, according to the industry publications I read. (Since my wife nearly bent her knitting needles due to excitement, perhaps I should clarify: Those names are just for comparision purposes. There's nothing to indicate any of those are coming to Lawrence.)

In fact, Menards said in its application that it expects the lot to sit vacant for awhile. Menards has said it does not plan to build any buildings on speculation - which means building then hoping to find a tenant. Instead, it will wait for a solid deal — or in this case, deals — to emerge.

Menards will have space to offer to several retailers. In total, the development will have space for 296,966 square feet of retail and commercial development. Menard's takes up about 175,000 square feet of that and the Snodgrass property will accommodate another 60,000. That means the remaining five lots likely will house stores or restaurants in the 5,000- to 15,000-square-foot range. There are a lot of players that can fit into that space.

The Snodgrass deal still has to win the necessary land use approvals from City Hall, but planners have been expecting this application. When city commissioners approved the Menards deal in June, store officials said they were looking at the Snodgrass property then. Menards successfully lobbied the commission to change the city's area plan for the 31st Street corridor to show this portion of the Snodgrass property as being slated for commercial development in the future. The annexation and rezoning appear to have a clear path to approval at City Hall, but the weather has been known to change rapidly at the corner of Sixth and Massachusetts. So, we'll see.

Regardless, the property is bound to change. After construction of the South Lawrence Trafficway, the property will be at a new intersection, the corner of Michigan and 31st streets. Michigan Street will be the name of the new street that will be built about a 1,000 to 1,500 feet east of 31st and Ousdahl. Michigan Street basically will replace the portion of Louisiana Street that is south of 31st Street. That portion of Louisiana will be removed as part of the SLT construction. Menards plans to build Michigan Street a few hundred feet north of 31st Street to serve as an additional access point to its development.

In a few months, the world will look quite a bit different along 31st Street. Heaven help me if the new look includes a knitting store.


optimist 4 years, 8 months ago

Horizon 2020 was written as a guidline, not a rule book. Everything doesn't fit into a perfect little package with a bow.

joes_donuts 4 years, 8 months ago

Hello Dick's Sporting Goods, goodbye Francis and Sunflower Bike Shop.

kef104 4 years, 8 months ago

We used to have a Dicks and it is long gone. They were no competition to Sunflower's quality and service.

SCOE 4 years, 8 months ago

why does Menards get to build a bigger store than home depot and best buy were allowed to put in. also what about the deal that was struck with home depot and best buy about no competeing businesses around them

bevy 4 years, 8 months ago

Too bad about the nice house and pond. I certainly wouldn't want to go from having lots of space to being squeezed between a Menard's and a new street.

Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

I think the road will be west of the store. The house is really nice, but it was a few hundred feet from the worst part of Lawrence (not including north Lawrence). I think it's a wash, a road and a Menards or a collection of meth labs. Neither is great, but I'd prefer the road and Menards.

minimadoff 4 years, 8 months ago

So - Menards needs additional land for additional retail space? Menards just bought 46 acres, they are only using 16 acres of it for their store with 30 acres left to sell or lease, now they need another 8 acres for more retail.... 175,000sf plus another 175,000sf is 350,000sf new retail on south Iowa not counting the current empty's along that stretch of road that could be leased.

This, plus the land on the south east corner of 10 Hwy and Iowa st (Armstrong land) that is asking for 500,000sf of retail should just about finish off downtown as we know it.

What next? a casino

Dan Blomgren 4 years, 8 months ago

Topeka and Overland Park have nothing on us now! In no time we'll have Pottery Barn, Red Lobster, Toys R Us, Olive Garden, and Dick's Sporting Goods! Downtown will be all bars and restaurants with retail heading South Iowa. Meanwhile our population is remaining stagnate so we'll have even more players fighting for the same dollars meaning everyone takes home a smaller piece of the pie. That's an awful lot of retail in addition to what is already on South Iowa. Lawrence better have a plan to get plenty of new people moving in or vacancy signs will be everywhere in a few years. But we'll have bread sticks out the wazoo at O.G so we'll all be happy as our prayers will have been answered!

LogicMan 4 years, 8 months ago

Build it, and we will come spend! And increase property values, so both sales and real estate tax revenues will go up. An all-around win for the local government and public education.

Is Home Depot asleep at the wheel? Why no proposal yet to expand their store, to literally keep up with the Jones next door to them?

HoneyBadger1 4 years, 8 months ago

Here we go again! Red Lobster vs Olive Garden chatter. Also, the "any growth is bad and anything old and stagnent is good....and damn those local politicians for not generating jobs" begins....

tomatogrower 4 years, 8 months ago

There is quite a theme here, isn't there. Submit plans that seem reasonable and get approval, then start adding on - the Oread, the 9th and New Hampshire, the Rock Chalk folly, etc. Lawrence is so easily sc***ed, I don't understand why it's not considered business friendly.

As for adding jobs, Mennards isn't known for the high pay and benefits. In fact they hate the ACA, so I'm sure they will make sure they only hire 20 hour positions, so they don't have to provide any benefits. Where are the real jobs? The new business park better have some decent jobs, or Mennards isn't going to have that many customers.

chootspa 4 years, 8 months ago

Their approval should be tied to minimum pay and benefits standards, imo. They're asking for a zoning exception. They're going to kill Home Depot. The least they can do is give the former Home Depot employees a living wage.

average 4 years, 8 months ago

Does the city get any input into things? I mean... even something near-trivial like making them connect the Menards megafortress to the Naismith Valley bike path... just to say we did something? Or have we totally abdicated all fiction of planning?

jack22 4 years, 8 months ago

Naismith Valley bike path? Where is that? I'd like to check it out.

tolawdjk 4 years, 8 months ago

Stop trying to make Red Lobster happen.

It's not going to happen.

minimadoff 4 years, 8 months ago

Doug Brown a local realtor was involved with the sale of land in north Lawrence to the Delaware Tribe and also the recent sale of land south of the the SLT on Iowa. Maybe he knows what is planned. Could the Delaware Tribe purchased the land on south Iowa too?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

Won't be long Lawrence will be very well known as the city with zillions of empty roof tops that puts business out of business because the population cannot support what transpires. A false or superficial economy cannot sustain real estate deals run amok.

Super inflation will become the Lawrence trademark.

As people cheer on this growth at the expense of the taxpayers remember the more the city expands the more crime will to continue to expand as we witness daily.

The chamber crowd which encompasses the most well known movers and shakers want Lawrence to be a city of 250,000 people STAT. So we taxpayers can help pay for more miles and miles of infrastructure and hand out corporate welfare like drunken sailors. No matter that the job market remains stinking to high heaven and wages are dropping at the speed of light.

I trust that the real estate industry has a customer waiting in the winds to buy up the empty building to be..... which could be Home Depot or Menard's.

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