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Proposed West Lawrence commercial development wins Planning Commission approval


Plans for a significant new West Lawrence shopping area have cleared their first hurdle.

Lawrence-Douglas County Planning commissioners on Monday night unanimously approved the rezoning and preliminary plat for the Langston Commons project, which is slated for the northeast corner of where the South Lawrence Trafficway intersects with Bob Billings Parkway.

As we reported last month, a local development group is moving forward with the project now that the state has committed to build an estimated $17 million interchange at the Bob Billings and SLT intersection.

Lawrence-based urban planner Tim Herndon has drawn up a pair of concept plans for the 17-acre commercial site. One includes a 60,000-square-foot grocery store building, with space for five other smaller commercial buildings. The second calls for a 30,000-square-foot speciality grocer or retail building, with room for seven other buildings ranging in size from about 15,000 square feet to a couple of thousand square feet.

Planning commissioners last night didn't have to pick between the two concept plans. Rather, the commission just recommended approval of the commercial zoning. More detailed plans on the commercial development will be filed as tenants start to emerge.

The last time I talked with the development group, it didn't have any tenants lined up for the development, but was optimistic the area would draw strong interest as the thousands of new vehicles per day start traveling by the area when the interchange opens by 2016.

Herndon, when I talked with him last month, even threw out the ever-elusive names of Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Now, put your lobster cracker down, because he mainly was just talking about the type of businesses the development will try to attract, not ones that have expressed an interest. But the development group will be aiming to impress because the new shopping center is expected to be an entry point for large numbers of people coming to the KU campus from the west. (But really, put that lobster cracker tool down. You're making me nervous.)

The development also includes about 14 acres of residential development. According to documents from the planning department, plans call for 29 units of single-family housing, 14 duplexes, and a mix of 34 row houses and apartment units.

City commissioners will be asked to give final approval to the rezoning requests in the next several weeks.

And, hey, take off that Red Lobster bib. It's way too early for that.


elliottaw 4 years, 5 months ago

Hope they redo the lines for schools because you will have "thousands" of cars on this road and 2 elementary schools with hundreds of kids walking/crossing the street

Tom Thomson 4 years, 5 months ago


Would love to see a Popeye's in Lawrence.. I'll gladly drive to Olathe for some spicy chicken tenders, but having it just down the road would be great ^

Would also be nice to have some decent BBQ (ala Jack Stack or OK Joes) in Lawrence..

workinghard 4 years, 5 months ago

Agree, KFC has really been bad lately. I e-mailed the company about how often they have messed up my orders and they didn't even bother to respond like most companies do.

smileydog 4 years, 5 months ago

I see more apartments in the near future and maybe a gas station.

Sue McDaniel 4 years, 5 months ago

I wish for Lowe's but oh yeah, they probably would deservedly not give us the time of day. Probably a lot of others either since they have tried before.......

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

Taxpayers one day will need to demand a rather smart decision.

How many more tax dollar abatements do the taxpayers want to see given away as a matter of everyday routine business? It is my position that every city commission meeting with damn few exceptions increase the cost of living to residents in Lawrence,Kansas.

Increase the cost of living by way of increasing property values, user fees, property taxes,sales taxes or whatever to cover the cost of those not paying their fair share. Yes annually we get nickel dimed so often it is hard to recall how many over the past decade have taken place. Which adds to to enough money that could be better spent at a local retail operation.

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