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New four-story East Lawrence lofts building to have distinctive design; city to add recycling containers downtown
East Lawrence's Warehouse Arts District already has provided us some interesting things to look at. The district's Cider Gallery and the host of art studios adjacent to it put out a lot of distinctive work.
But now, we'll find out if Lawrence is ready for four-stories of distinctive. As we have previously reported, plans are in the works for a new four-story loft-style apartment building at 900 Delaware Street. That's just a bit south and east of the Poehler lofts, the converted four-story warehouse that served as the impetus for the Warehouse Arts District.
Even though they will be similar in size, don't expect the new 43-unit apartment building to look anything like the old Poehler building, which has that classic, turn-of-the-20th-century brick warehouse look.
Instead, plans call for the new building, which is being dubbed 9 Del Lofts, to be a bit unlike any other apartment building in Lawrence. I don't have an architecture degree (you build one garden shed without a door . . . ), so I don't know how to describe the style. But it seems more modern, to me, than what is normally built in Lawrence. You can see some renderings of the project below.
The Kansas City-based architecture firm el dorado inc. has designed the building. In a letter to city officials, the company said it was looking for a design that evoked the "authentic expression of the light industrial nature of the surrounding Warehouse Arts District."
The result is that the two most visible facades of the building will be covered in "standing seam metal" of various shades and widths. The architects tout the material as being low maintenance, and said the material will gain an interesting patina as it ages.
As you can see in the rendering below, there also will be small areas of bright colors on the building, which the architects said "will reveal themselves from oblique angles and will also reflect colored light on the metal panels as the sun moves across the sky.)
The project already has received its major approvals from City Hall, and construction is set to begin soon. But this design wasn't what was proposed when commissioners last saw the building, so city commissioners are being asked to approve the new renderings tonight. Approval is expected — the item is on the city's consent agenda — and the city code doesn't really regulate the exterior aesthetics of residential buildings.
I haven't had a chance to talk with the project's lead developer Tony Krsnich, since these renderings came out, but I'm not surprised that it is a more contemporary design. When we first reported on the project back in August, Krsnich said he would take a different architectural approach.
"I can always tell when somebody builds something new and tries to make it look like it was built at the turn of the century," Krsnich said back then. "I think it is important that all development be true to the time that it was built in."
Other details of the 9 Del Lofts project are mostly unchanged since we last reported. The development will have 43 units: 23 one-bedroom lofts, 16 two-bedroom lofts, and 4 three-bedroom lofts. The project has received housing tax credits from the state of Kansas, which means that the majority of the units will be rent-controlled. The system will be similar to the one at the Poehler Lofts, which is also owned Krsnich's development group: Residents will have to meet certain income guidelines to rent one of the rent-controlled units.
I hope to get in touch with Krsnich soon to get more details about the timeline for the project, and I believe he also is close to announcing a tenant for a small bistro/wine bar space adjacent to the Poehler building.
In other news and notes from around town:
• Today is like the day I got ahold of the Polaroid when I was a kid: I've got lots of photos to share with you. (Hopefully, I don't end up passing out from the wonderful smell of that developing fluid this time. And hopefully you don't ground me for three weeks either.)
Regardless, look below and you'll find another photo, this one showing the latest thing slated to come to downtown Lawrence.
City officials have provided an update on their plans to launch the citywide, curbside recycling program in mid-October. All is going well on that front, we're told. Automated trucks have been ordered, and Hamm Inc. is in the process of rehabilitating an existing industrial building at the intersection of U.S. Highway 24/40 and Kansas 32 into a collection and recovery facility for the curbside program.
But one piece of information that is new is the plan to make downtown Lawrence a more recycling-friendly place. In November, the city plans to install 20 dual-use trash and recycling containers throughout downtown. They'll replace the existing trash cans on the sidewalks. One side of the container will be for trash, and the other will be for all types of recyclable materials, such as paper receipts, plastic sacks, aluminum pop cans, water bottles, and other such things that you may have on you while downtown. (This is good news to a special someone in my house: Now she can be more environmentally friendly in how she ignores her parking tickets.)
The city will spend about $30,000 to purchase the dual-use containers. They'll start with 20 containers, but may expand the number in 2015, depending on usage patterns.
In the grand scheme of things, this is a small part of a large program, but I know it will please some folks. I have heard from people that it was becoming difficult to call Lawrence progressive when it was lacking recycling containers in its showcase area of town.
• Don't worry when you notice in the future that the Hertz On Demand self-service rent-a-car disappears from its designated space in the city-owned parking lot. A special someone in my house did not illegally park it and cause it to be impounded. Instead, Hertz is pulling the plug on its Hertz On Demand rent-a-car program in Lawrence.
Back in February we reported on the new program. It allows people to sign up for the program and get a swipe card that will unlock the doors to the car, which had a dedicated parking spot at Eighth and New Hampshire. When you needed the car to run an errand around town or such, you signed up and paid online, and then could take the car with your card.
City officials were glad to give use of the parking spot because they thought it was a good example of a green program. But for whatever reason, the program hasn't taken off here or elsewhere, it appears. According to a city memo, Hertz will soon be removing the car due to "technology and participation challenges." The memo notes that the challenges were system-wide and not just specific to the Lawrence location.