Update on student apartment project that plans to locate next to day care center

Although it kind of has the makings of a good reality television show, the idea of a large student apartment complex surrounding a day care center has some obvious negatives. You may recall, though, there is a Lawrence plan that calls for such a project.

Recently I reported on an out-of-state development firm that has begun talking about building a large student apartment complex on vacant land at the southwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Crestline Drive.

I told you then that I would let you know if I heard anything from the proposed developer, Gilbane Development Company. Well, I have gotten a little bit of new information.

You may remember that the proposed project has an odd twist: Plans currently call for the large apartment complex to basically surround on three sides the small commercial day care business Lawrence Child Development Center.

Gilbane spokesman Wes Cotter told me the company is trying to strike a deal with Lawrence Child Development Center.

“We have been trying to work with them to address their comments,” Cotter said in a voicemail. “We continue to do that, and we have offered a fair market value, as well as other options for that property.”

If you recall, Teresa Prost, the owner of the day care, told me the apartment developers don’t currently plan to buy her property but rather plan to build one of the apartment buildings on the north side of her day care and another apartment building on the south side. She doesn’t like the idea of the apartment complex backing up to her business, particularly the playground it has for children.

So, the fact there may be some attempts at negotiation is notable. This may be a situation similar to the HERE apartment project near the Kansas Union. That massive project originally was planning to build around three sides of 91-year old Georgia Bell’s home at 1115 Indiana St. But ultimately the development company reached a deal to buy Bell’s property after the odd situation received quite a bit of public attention. Perhaps that is where this is heading. We’ll see.

As for other details about the project, Cotter said the project was too preliminary to share much information. The company doesn’t want to commit to a size for the project. A previous conceptual site plan showed about 220 apartments spread over two buildings. Based on the size of the parking lot, it looked like those apartments would have a total of about 500 bedrooms. Cotter, though, declined to confirm any of that, saying that those numbers are subject to change as the company continues to hear comments from neighbors and further studies the market.

Cotter, though, did confirm that the apartment complex would have a particular focus on attracting students, although it hopes to be somewhat targeted in that approach.

“We think we’ll have a real strong focus on graduate students and young professionals,” he said.

The company also has tweaked its original concept plan. The new concept plan still shows the two buildings on each side of the day care, but the new plan places some of the outdoor gathering areas farther away from the day care. You can see the plans below. The first one is the new version, while the second one is the previous plan. Neither plan has yet been filed with the city, which will have to give several approvals before the project could move forward.