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LJWorld.com weblogs Town Talk

Plans filed for restaurant/retail on South Iowa site once proposed for Olive Garden

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I don’t think that's the smell of Olive Garden’s all-you-can-eat breadsticks in the air, but I can’t be certain. My wife is taking no chances: She’s digging out her massive breadstick-toting purse, and she is ordering me to dust off my dinner jacket with the really big pockets.

All of this is to say there is activity at the 27th and Iowa site that once was proposed to house the city’s first Olive Garden restaurant, until that deal fell apart when city commissioners balked at providing incentives for the restaurant chain.

A new development plan for the northeast corner of the intersection has been filed at City Hall. The plans call for a 12,700 square foot building to be constructed on the largely vacant site. Half the building would be devoted to a “high turnover sit down restaurant,” while the other half would be used for “general retail shops.” The plans don’t provide any specifics on the restaurant or the retailers that may be going into the location. In case you are having a hard time picturing the site, it is where the old Plum Tree Chinese restaurant used to be, and also the adjacent site where Mazzio’s Pizza used to operate years ago.

The developer — Mission-based MD Management — is the one who proposed the Olive Garden for the site in 2011. But these plans are different than the ones filed when Olive Garden was the proposed tenant for the site. The traffic study also notes the development will produce about 60 percent fewer motorist trips on any given day than the previous proposal. Those all may be signs that we’re talking about a different restaurant, but I don’t really know. Some folks who have insight into these sort of things seem to think that too. I’m doing some asking around, and I also have a call into MD Management.

At the moment, I haven’t seen anything that indicates the development company is seeking any sort of financial incentives, such as special taxing districts or property tax rebates, to develop the site. But I’ll keep my eyes open for that as well.

The property already has the proper zoning for restaurant and retail development, so most of the approvals needed from City Hall are relatively technical ones. Perhaps the answers will reveal themselves in fairly short order.

In the meantime, I have a feeling that since our breadstick garb has been unearthed, my wife and I will be making a trip to an Olive Garden. I just hope its never-ending pasta bowl promotion isn’t going on. You don’t want to know how she makes me smuggle out pasta and marinara sauce.

Comments

blindrabbit 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Should have added Perkins, IHOP to the "plastic" list in my prior. But please, no Cracker Barrel, would work in any other town in Kansas, but not a more progressive, independent thinking community like Lawrence.

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blindrabbit 10 months, 4 weeks ago

We need a real old fashioned diner; not a plastic First Watch nor a repeat of the Global, Mirth, Wheatfield's (which are acceptable), but! I want a pie, chicken fried steak, pork tenderloin, meatloaf kinda place that has some decent hours.

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oneeye_wilbur 10 months, 4 weeks ago

A Denneys maybe, but high turnover , sit down doesn't sound like anything different from what zlawrence already has!

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Jimmy 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I wish they'd bring back Mazzios! Granted, I haven't eaten there since I was a kid, but I sure loved it growing up.

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Liberty275 10 months, 4 weeks ago

It's just blight right now. Give somebody a tax break to build something people want there.

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oneeye_wilbur 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Pray it is not mexican nor chinese nor any asian food.

Too bad Lawrence cannot snag an In and Out on that corner!

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jack22 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I'm just glad they're not putting up another high rise apartment building there.

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Termcd4 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Many years ago, I worked at the large building on the site when it was Western Sizzlin'! Next door was Ken's pizza, and behind them was Dr. Kunc's chiropractor office. That whole area has been an eye sore for a VERY long time. I dont care what it is, but I sure hope they do something to it, instead of building new buildings on more fresh lots. And what about the corner gas station at 25th. What is the word on that? Any idea?

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oneeye_wilbur 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Church's fried chicken pawn shop, payday loan liquor store, and the eyeglass place is already there.

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irvan moore 10 months, 4 weeks ago

if they need financial incentives to make it work they should partner up with doug, it would be a done deal

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patkindle 11 months ago

the out of towners will flock to olive garden the locals, not so much, they are way too cool , unless of course they have a free coupon

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rockchalker52 11 months ago

I realize it probably won't be but I'd go for a Cracker Barrel. I'd get me some pancakes with that wonderful maple syrup & a hashbrown casserole. The coffee is perty good, too. Plus I could sit there & play that little triangular peg game they have at each table. And just think of all the spiffy last minute shopping choices on Christmas Eve!

They'd never get an acceptable sign variance, though. You can see those things days before you reach the parking lot.

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kansas_cynic 11 months ago

Olive Garden = overpriced mediocre food.

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Dick Sengpiehl 11 months ago

My wife and I love Olive Garden. Darden owns Red Lobster too and they are often built near each other. We like both but imagine only one possible so Olive Garden would be great. Retail? Don't like the sound of that.

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LogicMan 11 months ago

Whatever it is, Git 'r Done! That corner has been blighted for long enough.

Any news on the old Phillips 66 station to the north? If closed for good, don't the underground tanks have to be removed quickly?

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Hooligan_016 11 months ago

I hope that they align the building to face/abut the Iowa RoW. Really don't want to be looking at another parking lot.

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LeBo 11 months ago

Pisano's is a local business. I agree Olive Garden would be good for Lawrence, yet, tax abatements should not be S.O.P.

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PhilChiles 11 months ago

Half restaurant, half retail? WE'RE GETTING A CRACKER BARREL, FOLKS!

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madcow 11 months ago

Would much rather have a red lobster, or a crab shack.

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matthew2600 11 months ago

If you aren't familiar with the Olive Garden, it's a magical Tuscan mirage where people gather to plunge face-first into troughs full of chicken Alfredo and participate in an eternal breadstick and salad parade.

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