LJWorld.com weblogs Town Talk
Plans filed for more apartment units at site of former Boardwalk Apartments
Another year, another set of apartment plans. Although it seemed like we spent a lot of time talking about new apartment projects last year, the number of new apartments added in the city ended up being a middling number of 184. In 2011, the city added 355 units, and there have been apartment booms in the city where we’ve left the 400-level in the rear-view mirror as well.
So, we’ll see what 2013 brings. So far, it has brought one new set of apartment plans to Lawrence City Hall. Lawrence architect Paul Werner has filed new plans for a phase II expansion of Frontier Apartments at 542 Frontier Road.
In case you aren’t familiar with that complex, it is where the former Boardwalk Apartments used to be — a block or so north of Sixth Street and a bit east of Kasold Drive.
Plans filed at City Hall call for 18 one-bedroom apartments and 18 two-bedroom apartments to be added at the site, which already has 96 apartments units that were built in phase one of the project.
Werner didn’t provide a timeline for when construction may begin, but the project already has the necessary zoning in place. New plans had to be filed at City Hall because designers tweaked the placement and number of buildings previously approved, which usually indicates developers are getting serious about starting a project. The second phase actually is smaller than what was once envisioned. Back in 2009, the project envisioned the second phase could be another 96 units worth of apartments.
The apartment project has added some unique elements to the Lawrence apartment market. The apartments are housed in three-story tall buildings that are served with elevators, and the project was designed with high-efficiency appliances, added insulation and other elements meant to meet LEED green building certification standards.
But what you may remember most about the apartment project is that it truly is a place where the grass is always greener. When phase one of the apartment project was built, about 20,000 square feet of artificial grass was installed as part of the complex’s landscaping plan.
The artificial grass didn’t meet city code, and the development group — which is led by Lawrence businessman Thomas Fritzel — and the city ended up having quite a discussion about whether the fake grass should be allowed to stay. Ultimately, city commissioners agreed to “grandfather-in” the use of the grass at the complex.
I checked with planners on this phase II development, and so far the plans don’t show the use of artificial grass for that portion of the project. City planners, the documents show, have made it clear that any use of artificial grass at the property will require special approval from the City Commission.
The documents also show that at least one utility company has expressed a concern with the use of artificial grass at the project. Knology, the cable television and Internet company in town, noted that it costs about $100 per square foot to repair the artificial turf if it has to be disturbed to make underground cable repairs.
I’ll keep an ear out for when construction may begin on the new apartments.