IT company buying west Lawrence building to expand; plans filed for new indoor baseball facility; Cottonwood to honor businesses

The Connect Church building at 3705 Clinton Parkway is slated to be redeveloped into an office building.

Often I need something akin to divine intervention to get my computer to work properly, so perhaps it is fitting that a growing IT company is buying a west Lawrence church building to expand its business. (Note: I have found pouring holy water on your keyboard is largely counterproductive.)

A group that is led by the owner of M Cubed Technologies has reached a tentative deal to purchase the building at 3705 Clinton Parkway that houses Connect Church — formerly known as the Lawrence Wesleyan Church. I reported earlier this year that Connect Church is building a new multimillion dollar church building just south of 31st Street where it turns into Kasold Drive.

Construction work has begun on that building, and as such, Connect Church has been looking for a buyer for its current building. M Cubed Technologies is an IT firm that provides tech support to a variety of businesses. The company has offices in Fresno, Calif., and Lawrence, but president and CEO Mehdi Honarvar is based in Lawrence.

He has put together a group to buy the church building and remodel it for office space. And just for good measure, the plan also includes a baseball facility.

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First, the office space. M Cubed Technologies plans to move out of its office on Delaware Street and into the former church building. But plans call for the 15,000 square-foot building to house two or three other offices as well. Honarvar has a deal for a roofing company to locate its administrative offices in the building, and the group is seeking other tenants.

But a driving force for the deal is the growth of M Cubed. The company has about 50 Lawrence area clients currently, and business is growing because the company uses a European-style approach to tech support. I always associate Europe with the French, so I assumed the approach involved an early surrender and wine and baguettes. I was off-base, though. Apparently in Europe the tech support world is built much more on preventive maintenance rather than troubleshooting. He said businesses are starting to look for alternatives to the traditional U.S. model of tech support.

“If you don’t break down, (the IT firm) doesn’t make money,” he said. “The European model is more proactive. Keep it clean and keep it healthy so it doesn’t break down. We make money when a company doesn’t break down.”

The company has 15 employees currently, but only four of them are in Lawrence. Honarvar expects that number to grow, although he didn’t offer any projections.

The part of the project that may be most visible, though, is a new indoor baseball facility. The plans call for a vacant piece of land behind the current church building to house a new 9,800 square-foot indoor baseball facility. Think indoor batting cages, pitching mounds, areas for fielding drills and other such space for classes and instruction. Honarvar said some individuals who were involved with a similar type of business in Lawrence are leading that effort. I’m still waiting to get some additional information about that part of the project. I’ll let you know when I hear more.

In other news and notes from around town:

• Some Lawrence businesses and individuals soon will be honored by Lawrence-based Cottonwood Inc. The nonprofit that serves individuals with developmental disabilities has partnerships with businesses all over the community.

At an awards ceremony on Monday, Cottonwood will honor Lawrence’s Stoneback Appliance as the JobLink Employer of the Year. The Lawrence Transit service and its operator MV Transportation will be honored as the Outstanding Community Partner of the year. Lenexa-based Clinical Reference Laboratory is being honored as the Cottonwood Industries Business Partner of the Year.

In addition, Cottonwood will honor several individuals, including Peggy Wallert, Distinguished Service Award; Pennie Goodrich and Angela Trybom, Shining Star Award; and Gene Planker and Miguel Ramos Caring and Commitment Award.

The awards ceremony will be at 7 p.m. Monday at Free State High School.