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See the latest plans to build large student apartment complex around Lawrence day care


It sounds like it should be a reality television show: a day care surrounded by a college apartment complex. (Next on the Discovery Channel: Diapers and Debauchery.) But it soon may just become reality in southern Lawrence.

We reported in September that a concept plan was being floated around town that Gilbane Development — a large, national student apartment company — would build a major apartment complex on largely vacant ground near the southwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Crestline Drive.

The twist with the project has been that the largely vacant ground does include a Lawrence day care, the Lawrence Child Development Center at 2333 Crestline Drive. Instead of purchasing the property, the company had proposed building the apartment complex around the day care. But again, this was all a concept plan, and there was talk the development company would work out a deal with the day care.

Well, actual plans have now been filed at Lawrence City Hall, and the apartment project is still proposing to build around the day care. The plans show the complex surrounding the day care on three sides. The plans also get specific about how large this complex would be: 206 apartments with 560 bedrooms.

The plans call for two four-story buildings to be built on the property — one north and one south of the day care. Directly behind the day care will be a parking lot — the plan calls for just over 580 parking spaces — and an outdoor basketball court. The basketball court is nearly adjacent to the day care’s playground, although the two would be separated by a retaining wall and fencing. (I’m not sure what the kids will learn from college-age pick-up basketball games. Middle-aged pick-up basketball games, on the other hand, would teach them the benefits of never passing the ball, Bengay and defibrillators.)

I chatted with Ken Prost, the director of the Lawrence Child Development Center. He said he still has concerns about the proposed project.

“We’ve been talking to them trying to get some straight answers, but we haven’t been able to get any real response,” Prost said.

I’ve got a message into a spokesman for Gilbane but haven’t heard back. When I last chatted with a Gilbane representative in September, he said the company had offered a fair market value price to buy the property of the day care center.

Prost didn’t get into any such offer when I talked with him, but he said the day care is open to moving or to staying on the site if Gilbane can help make some improvements to insulate the day care from the apartment complex.

“We are only against the project because it is a risk to our children, our parents and our business,” Prost said. “If I can tell my parents that Gilbane has their children’s interest at heart, then I can probably assist them.”

We’ll see whether a deal is forthcoming. If not, it will be interesting to watch this project move through the City Hall approval process. City commissioners ultimately will have to approve a rezoning of the property before the project can move forward.

In some ways, the project seems to be what City Hall leaders say they want: dense residential development on an “infill property” that is in the city limits. If you are having a hard time picturing Clinton Parkway and Crestline, it basically is a block west of 23rd and Iowa streets. And to boot, the company has not requested any financial incentives for the apartment complex, meaning that the new development would add several million dollars to the city’s property tax base.

But a room full of angry day care parents will complicate the approval process. Plus, there is perhaps a growing segment in the community that has started to push back on new apartment construction. It should make an interesting early test for the new City Commission.

Here’s a look at the site plan proposed for the development, plus a couple of renderings that give you a general idea of what the new buildings — they’ll be a little more than 40 feet tall — would look like.

Courtesy: Landplan Engineering/City of Lawrence

Courtesy: Landplan Engineering/City of Lawrence by Chad Lawhorn

Courtesy: Landplan Engineering/City of Lawrence

Courtesy: Landplan Engineering/City of Lawrence by Chad Lawhorn


Alex Landazuri 7 months, 1 week ago

either the daycare needs to move or the apartments need to pick a new location. im surprised the church across the street isnt chiming in on this one too, this will affect them pretty strongly as well.

Tony Peterson 7 months, 1 week ago

The daycare was there first. Why should it have to move to accommodate an apartment complex?

Ron Holzwarth 7 months, 1 week ago

Being the first to occupy a piece of real estate does not give you any ownership rights to the surrounding properties that you do not own.

There are only a few exceptions to that. For instance, a liquor store cannot be opened within 500 feet of a church. There may be other exceptions, but I'm sure day care centers are not one of them.

Richard Heckler 7 months, 1 week ago

Is there a need for more student Housing?

Shouldn't rental property owners/managers be concerned ?

Michael Kort 7 months, 1 week ago

I don't care if they build this or not but i do care about whether the area drainage systems can handle all of the additional water runoff during storms that all of these concrete lots and roofs will be instantly producing as north bound run off that used to be held back by tall grass .

Michael Kort 7 months, 1 week ago

I don't care if they build this or not but it would be nice if they solve the problem caused by daycare employees parking on the east side of Crestline making it into a one lane street already during daycare business hours,..... that can't handle another 200 cars + coming or going during daycare business hours .

Sooner or later the tenants that will be here are going to want the city bus that often stands at 25th st and Melrose and on 24th terr between Crestline and Melrose blocking half of two 2 lane streets to do the same here .

How about a plan for an indented pull over lane for this site where a bus could stand without blocking 1/2 the street as they do dangerously above or create the hazard of the departing pedestrian who just steps into a narrowed road unseen from the front end of a bus by drivers going around it

Michael Kort 7 months, 1 week ago

I still don't care if they build this or not........ but how about the city figuring out that Crestline and Clinton Pkwy is not a basic 4 way intersection because there is an outer road on the south side of Clinton that goes to parking in the rear of the church and Senior housing behind the church that Ts with Crestline just south of Clinton that is way too close to the standard signaled intersection stop lights at Crestline and Clinton, which blocks the outer road entrance and exit of of Crestline with standing cars during busy times .

Somebody somewhere has handled this type of intersection plenty of times before with a better stop light setup and it sounds as if more cars are coming and this will only get worse .

Michael Kort 7 months, 1 week ago

This is their money, their property and their risk .

Other landlords with no debt can undercut them on rents and consistent college enrollment is not a given thing these days .

An excess of apts. could hold rents down, which is a plus for renters city wide !

Hopefully the city planning for all of this development will be thought through and there won't be any robot garage ideas from questionable vendors who go south in the middle of the project to send everybody scrambling .

David Holroyd 7 months, 1 week ago

The same Gilbane Development that as fined for BRIBERY ? They will fit right in with The Planning Department/ Mr. McCullough and the head honco Mr. Markus.

The commission is sooo naive!

David Holroyd 7 months, 1 week ago

has been FINED....as, was, the same they were FINED.

your assignment Richard Heckler for study hall is Study the Bribery Charges and report back...if you report in proper time you will not receive study hall for another week.

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