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More details on plans for a Dick's Sporting Goods store in old Sears building
Yes, Lawrence really is going to get a Dick's Sporting Goods store.
We reported last week that a building permit application had been made that strongly suggested a Dick's Sporting Goods store was set to go into a portion of the former Sears building at 27th and Iowa streets. Well, more paperwork has surfaced that is more definitive.
A site plan has been filed for the former Sears building, and the plan is titled "Dick's Sporting Good Store." And it looks like Lawrence probably will get a new restaurant out of the deal as well. The site plan application shows that a Wichita-based development group is proposing to build a 4,000-square-foot restaurant building in the southeast corner of the Sears parking lot. That will put it adjacent to the Midas auto repair shop along Iowa Street.
Here are details of the project, according to the site plan:
• The Dick's Sporting Goods store will occupy the majority of the building, at 50,395 square feet. In case you are wondering whether this is a mini-Dick's store, it doesn't appear to be. According to a respected retail guide — ChainLinks Retail Advisors — the Lawrence store will be about an average-size facility for Dick's. ChainLinks says Dick's stores come in three sizes: a large store format of 80,000 square feet, an average-size store of 50,000 square feet and a small-scale store of 35,000 square feet. This one's in the middle.
• The southern end of the existing building will have space for 29,221 square feet of retail space. The site plan doesn't give any clues about what retailer may be going into that space, and it's quite possible a tenant hasn't yet been found. There's certainly speculation, though. I've heard several people rooting for Old Navy to make a return to Lawrence. It left town in early 2012, and its space near 33rd and Iowa street was taken over by Ross Dress for Less. Speculation at the time was that Old Navy wanted to remain in Lawrence, but company strategy was dictating a smaller store for this size of market. If that's the case, the former Sears space may not be it. The proposed space at Sears is about 10,000 square feet larger than what Old Navy had in the Pine Ridge Plaza.
• The project will have space for a smaller store, however. The northeast corner of the existing building is being configured to accommodate an approximately 10,000-square-foot retail space. If you are an Old Navy fan, that may be one to watch. An article by the industry publication Retail Traffic reported in 2011 that Old Navy was reducing the size of its average store to about 10,000 square feet. But just to be clear, there isn't any official word on Old Navy wanting to return to Lawrence. It's just speculation at the moment in some real estate circles, and in some cases, wishful thinking among some shoppers that I know. But still, it's probably a name worth keeping an eye on.
I'll make another run at trying to get in contact with the new owners of the property — a group led by noted Wichita developer Michael Boyd — and will report back if I get any new details.