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Vacant Sears building sold; plans at City Hall suggest Dick's Sporting Goods on the way
It is sure beginning to look like Dick's Sporting Goods is headed for the vacant Sears building on South Iowa Street.
In recent days, the building at 2727 Iowa St. has sold and a building permit has been filed at City Hall that contains clues that suggest Dick's Sporting Goods will be the main tenant for the building. The building permit application doesn't specifically state that Dick's is the tenant, but the architect for the property labeled the remodeling project "Dick's Tenant White Box." White box, for those of you not up on the lingo, is the phrase used to describe a basic remodeling job that creates a clean space for a tenant to begin installing their own shelves, fixtures and furniture.
The plans filed at City Hall also show that the 86,000-square-foot building would be divided into three spaces for retailers, with the large anchor space checking in at about 50,400 square feet. That indicates that there will be room for at least two other significant retailers to locate in the building. There was nothing in the filings at City Hall to indicate who those retailers may be.
As for the sale of the property, TMD Iowa LLC has purchased the property from California-based Sinay Lawrence Kansas LLC, according to records from the Douglas County Register of Deeds.
TMD Iowa, according to records from the Kansas Secretary of State's office, includes Michael Boyd, a noted commercial real estate developer with Wichita-based Walter Morris Companies. That also lends credence to the idea that Dick's is headed for the space.
Talk in local commercial real estate circles is that Walter Morris Companies has had the building under contract for several months, but has been waiting on a final commitment from Dick's before they closed on the building.
"My understanding is they have had it under contract since spring," one source told me. "I'm sure this is a sign that they've finally got the Dick's deal signed."
The source I talked with said the addition of Boyd and the Walter Morris Companies to Lawrence market is a good sign because they are experienced retail developers.
"They were really active in Wichita for a long time," the source said. "They are pretty big players. They have some deep pockets and I think they have long wanted to be in the Lawrence market."
As we reported in April, executives associated with Walter Morris Companies were involved in the purchase of the former Tanger Factory Outlet Mall site, now called the I-70 Business Center, in North Lawrence.
I've got a call into Michael Boyd to try to find out some details about this latest purchase. I'll let you know what I hear, and of course, I'll also keep my ears open for the speculation on other retailers that may be interested in the remaining two spaces in the building.