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Large student housing company floating plans for big apartment complex in south Lawrence


Get ready for more students near one of the busiest intersections in Lawrence. A Rhode Island-based company is seriously considering building a major new apartment complex near the Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street intersection.

An entity called Gilbane Development Co. has begun talking with neighbors about a plan to build an apartment complex on largely vacant land at the southwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Crestline Drive. That intersection is basically one block west of the busy Clinton Parkway/23rd Street and Iowa Street intersection.

Gilbane hasn’t yet filed plans with City Hall for the project, but it has presented a conceptual site plan to neighbors. That plan calls for two three-story buildings that would have about 220 apartment units. I’m waiting to hear back from Gilbane officials, but in talking with neighbors, it sounds like the apartment complex would have about 500 bedrooms. The site plan seems to indicate that as well. The parking lot for the project has 532 spaces.

Neighbors also tell me that the project would be geared for university students. That would be consistent with Gilbane’s past projects. According to its website, the company has built more than 4,000 student housing beds in the last five years.

The site plan shows the two three-story buildings, a clubhouse on the ground floor of one of the buildings and a pair of plazas, with one including an outdoor pool, and the other seemingly having some sports courts and other such amenities.

The plans, however, have a major quirk. The southwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Crestline is largely vacant but not entirely vacant. There is a commercial building that houses the day care business Lawrence Child Development Center.

Teresa Prost, the owner of the center, 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 of the day care. It is a plan she doesn’t like.

“It feels like the big fish is eating the little fish,” she said.

Prost said the day care includes an outdoor playground that would back up to the student apartment complex.

“We would be right in the center,” Prost said. “That is something we want to talk about with them. With balconies, there would be these apartments that would be looking at children playing.”

Prost said she’s open to the development group buying her property or relocating the day care to another part of the site that would be more isolated from the apartment development.

I’ve got a call into Gilbane officials, but I haven’t yet heard back. If I get additional information from the company, I’ll pass it along.


Theodore Calvin 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Ok Lawrence council, time to show what you have learned over the years from: RCP, Varsity House, Oread, Alvamar, HERE, etc. You have learned quite a bit on public/private partnerships, tax abatements, sales tax relief, and how not to structure contracts and agreements with entities seeking these kind of incentives. They say "burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me." We have been burned once, twice, even thrice. Let's stop shaming ourselves.

Brett McCabe 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I didn't see a mention of any requests for abatements or partnerships, so I'm not sure what you are up in arms about. The site is part of the core of city, will add density, will strengthen commercial enterprises in the area, is close to campus, puts more pressure on the slumlords of Lawrence to up their game and will bring new tax revenue on an infill development. Yeah, I can see why you'd be mad.

Now, onto things that are actually real, I do understand the concerns of the day-care center in regards to protecting those children. That is paramount. Assuming that problem can be solved - and it can - there is really no glaring reason to oppose this. Unless you are from East Lawrence, your name is Mikey and you hate everything.

Theodore Calvin 9 months, 2 weeks ago

What would you like to wager that the incentive request will be coming? Mr. McCabe, has there been a proposal of this magnitude that has come through Lawrence in the last 5 years that didn't seek some sort of incentive? I'll lean on the side that the request will be coming and be amazingly shocked if it doesn't.

If you notice all I asked that the city be mindful and good stewards of our money. As I stated, we learned a lot on how to structure contracts and give the city more teeth in these matters. That is all that I am asking, be mindful. Don't follow these developers around like lost puppy dogs grabbing up any bone they throw and give them the key to the darn city. Incentives can be a good thing if used wisely, something I believe our city has not done in the past.

David Holroyd 9 months, 2 weeks ago

They won't learn and furthermore if the commissioners are like Mr. Farmer and the City Manager is like Mr. Corliss it will go through...and believe me...they have similarities ,,the commission and the manager..

CHAD.....would you be so kind as to review the old articles about that corner and what was to be built...and WHY it DID NOT HAPPEN?

It is on the record,,who owned, what was planned and what did not happen.

My advice to the commission is to STOP issuing IRBs for sales tax relief. only fools do that.

And why?///Well, here is a perfect example and thus far no one is smart enough to figure it out.

HERE....$75 million dollar project IRBs issued!

County Value for taxation $29 million...

Somebody isn't doing their job! WELL..someone!

Richard Quinlan 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Students want new housing , period. Its time the city , slumlords , and the rule writers figure this out and enthusiasticly start redeveloping the core of Lawrence , you know the rotting student ghetto and central Lawrence. Streamline the processes , get the historic bull crap out of the way. Start tearing down these old inefficient buildings and build green , modern housing. Get wit it !

Richard Heckler 9 months, 2 weeks ago

A Rhode Island firm eh? Guess they have run out of room in Rhode Island so now they are invading smaller communities.

Is there a need for more student housing in Lawrence,kansas? I don't think so?

The question becomes how many MORE vacancies will this create in Lawrence,kansas?

Empty bedrooms do not pay back the taxpayers?

How much corporate welfare will this project be asking for?

When we located to Lawrence some 30 years ago in August it was damn difficult to find a rental. Today there are for rent signs all over Lawrence, Kansas. Think about that.

That corner would look very nice with a lot of trees, several picnic tables and a play ground.

Lawrence needs another housing project like it needs another chicken place, pizza place, bar, grocery store or bank.

Andrew Applegarth 9 months, 2 weeks ago

"How much corporate welfare will this project be asking for?" - And yet your solution is to take it off the tax roles completely while expanding the Parks and Rec budget. That will certainly pay back the taxpayer...

"When we located to Lawrence some 30 years ago in August it was damn difficult to find a rental. Today there are for rent signs all over Lawrence, Kansas. Think about that." - Unless you are simply opposed to anybody else moving to Lawrence now that you're here, it seems kind of mean spirited to complain about it no longer being so damn difficult to do so.

College towns, especially those with an inadequate supply of quality rental properties, are horrible to move to. While landlords in college towns demand that every lease runs from August 1 to July 31 (or are pro-rated to still end on July 31) and they want those leases signed 4-6 months in advance, year leases in non-college towns tend to start whatever month you move in and still run for a full 12 months. Plus, month-to-month leases are a lot more common. That allows rental units to open up throughout the year and makes it a heck of a lot easier to find something with just the two weeks notice you gave your old boss in your previous town. While student oriented housing will probably always keep the August 1 start for leases, I look forward to the day that Lawrence finally has enough housing that regular rentals quit requiring it.

Michael Kort 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Some landlords might deserve a competitive kick in the whatever but will that encourage them to fix their sites ?

I am big on the city regulating landlords and enforcing rental codes because that is what landlords understand and the rest is just wishful thinking from nice people encouraged into naive magical thinking of how things should work in an ideal society that doesn't really exist or from those with financial interests in playing others over it all . Repairs are figured into the rent but so is landlord arrogance in not making them to wiesel the next dollar from the student tenants who got bigger fish to fry than fighting with the landlord in a system that doesn't support their interests......GOOD FOR LAWRENCE FOR BACKING TENANTS UP !!! .

Richard Heckler 9 months, 2 weeks ago

"And yet your solution is to take it off the tax roles completely " Nonsense I am against corporate welfare.

"while expanding the Parks and Rec budget. That will certainly pay back the taxpayer..." More nonsense. I am suggesting make better use of existing tax dollars which is not expanding the budget.

I have submitted yet again a more efficient use of the infrastructure sales that which serves the entire community. The infrastructure sales tax did not get my vote 10 years ago.

Michael Kort 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Crestline is too narrow for what they plan and needs widening or a rethink and land for off road daycare parking or as the day care owner seems to suggest a buy out so that they can go elsewhere

As is, the east side of Crestline is the parking for the mentioned day care employees which realistically turns Crestline into one shared one lane street that goes north and south with drivers taking turns when the day care is open .

Because there is a south access road running east from Crestline that parallels the south side of Clinton Parkway serving the rear parking lot of a large church on the SE corner of Clinton & Crestline and Senior Housing Apts at its' far dead end east, the city will need to rethink the lights at Clinton and Crestline with the additional traffic of this project arriving all at once during peak traffic times .

Traffic coming from Holcums Baseball Field lot as well as 100s of Apt's that stretch south to 27th St use Crestline to go north .

As day care is a big time issue for Lawrence residents with small children the developer needs to work with the daycare provider to solve their location before this is allowed to go foreword by the city .

There is city bus past this location that circulates south in one direction and over to Iowa st and students take it to somewhere (?) but there is no room for a buss to stand on Crestline as they do anyway on west 24th terr and at 25th and Melrose, turning these streets temporarily into one lane roads where drivers take turns in opposite directions while a bus stands awaiting riders .

Notably, as is, Crestline has no sidewalks s. of Clinton, so students from existing apts further south, end up walking to and from KU in Crestline St . .

Somebody should be asking if the over all water and sewer service to this area is adequate for use of 500 new apts plus If they have enough fire hydrants for another 500 units ( based on fire code requirements ) or if the developer will be adding fire hydrants at their costs, will these 500 units have fire sprinklers inside, etc . ?

Who pays for any infrastructure improvements including sidewalks, fire hydrants, any sewer improvements, street improvements or signal improvements at Crestline and Clinton ?

I thought that college enrollments are declining so who will rent these places ?

Andrew Applegarth 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I would expect that the 29 bus stop at the NE corner of the proposed complex will be more popular with the students than the 38 stop on Crestline. While the 38 meanders to get back to campus, the stop for the 29 at Clinton and Crestline is the last one before returning to campus.

Deborah Snyder 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Mr. Kort, I hope you stay on top of this project proposal, or if possible, keep folks updated. Thanks.

Michael Kort 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Deborah,...... i guess that if they want to roll the dice with their $ own money.......i just hope that the city thinks this one thru..... both operationally and $ financially .

Wouldn't we all like a pony from 6th St.?.......but........the obvious is screaming about what could be the next version of the robot parking system from......." T-HERE " ?........maybe each apartment will come with a teleportation unit ? and a bank vault full of gold bars ?

David Holroyd 9 months, 2 weeks ago

A stoplight maybe on Clinton Pkwy to accomodate left hand turns..

ZONING......wasn't an office park to be there once...Chad must have been to young then.

Is it ZONED office or residential?

Just recently there was work done on 23rd street and the city wasn't smart enough to have a cutout for the buses...Face it...the city is incapable of making sound long range decisions.

They grasp at anything to happen,,,Mr. Markus is the master of that and Scott McCullough arranges and re arranges the zoning AND the commissioners sit back and twiddle their thumbs and look at each other.

Chad, would you be so kind as to find the old articles about the land and what was planned?

I reallly hate to go into my files..I saved a lot of them...they are a comic book in the making.

btw....WHO owns the land now? We know it hasn't been sold..or the paper would be bragging about it...


Andrew Applegarth 9 months, 2 weeks ago

"A stoplight maybe on Clinton Pkwy to accomodate left hand turns.."

Perhaps you are a bit confused as to where this is located as there are already lights at the intersection of Crestline and Clinton with protected left turns.

Michael Kort 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Andrew,....try making a left into east bound south outer Clinton Parkways access road that goes east to the church parking lot, etc, when the north bound traffic on Crestline is 6 or 7 cars deep backed up at the light and blocking the access roads entrance during rush hour times..........and some part of 500 cars will be added to that to come and go daily . .

Nor can one get out of the access road turning left or south onto Crestline. when cars are backed up south at the intersections lights .

It is the nature of 4 lane divided roads with limited access between major streets that they sometimes dictate squirly constructs as how the outer roads work into the cross streets .

Frankly the center left turn lanes on Clinton into KU and Crestline need a redo because the opposing left turn drivers are line of sight blocking to each others view of oncoming traffic and the cars by lane markings often sit too far off of the center islands to be seen around, to view oncoming opposing thru traffic ( that one must guess about ? ) which is just plain dangerous to drive .

It is correct that if you are stopped and cued up in the Left turn lanes on Clinton Pkwy at Crestline the lights will accomodate you with a left controlled turn arrow, before the thru traffic is allowed to flow on Clinton .

The problem i find arises when making a left turn onto Crestline during a green light when thru traffic is already moving and one's view is dangerously obstructed by an opposing driver making the same left turn from the other direction into KU, who is standing wide of the island ( to their right ) which is a daily happening with drivers going into KU .

I go south to 25th and Iowa and notice how the left turn lane markings tend to move opposing left turn drivers onto 25th St, out of each other's line of sight, so maybe the island tips need to go away and have better traffic markings to separate the lines of sight of opposing left turn drivers ?

Andrew Applegarth 9 months, 2 weeks ago

And what does any of that have to do with me pointing out that the light that David said may need be to be installed is already there?

The difference is that Clinton Parkway is a divided roadway while Iowa is not. Just like all of the other intersections on Clinton, there is at least a narrow divider between the turn lanes and the oncoming lanes. If you can't handle turning at Crestline, I see no reason that you would have any better luck at Lawrence, Kasold, the street I can never remember the name of, Crossgate, Inverness, or Wakarusa. All of those intersections have the same divided layout.

I get it that you don't support this project, but come up with more realistic critiques.

David Holroyd 9 months, 2 weeks ago

HERE HAS 600+ bedrooms.....It almost the size of HERE and a parking lot with 532 spaces. Really.....

David Holroyd 9 months, 2 weeks ago

They have a project in Ames, Iowa and after they saw and read how easy the city commission and McCullough was to sway...they thought why not...we can slick those country bumpkins easy...

Build it..sell it and move on to the next project.....532 parking spaces...really...they must be planning a multistory garage or I bet ROBOTS... 532 spaces at a surface level lot is one heck of a lot of land!

Go look at the lot at 11th and Mississippi and imagine if it were big enough for 532 spaces.....GO LOOK...look at the proposed site...and IMAGINE...maybe after a joint or two is smoked one could imagine 532 spaces.

Andrew Applegarth 9 months, 2 weeks ago

"they must be planning a multistory garage or I bet ROBOTS"

There is a conceptual site plan included in the article that shows all of the parking spaces, but there is not a multistory garage or robot in sight. Perhaps you should take a look at the picture before placing your bets...

David Holroyd 9 months, 2 weeks ago

It is conceptual....like a pretty picture. Like Lawrence High has a virtual school in a building and the why? I suppose they have a "virtual " lunch by look at a picture...

Conceptual...lets see Varsity House, Oread Inn, how was the finished product?

Andrew Applegarth 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Why do you compare it to developments in the crowded downtown / campus environment where space for enough parking is hard to find? Why don't you look at the projects similar to this one, like the Reserve or the ones on 24th Place? You know, the ones with acreage similar to this project that have parking that is also similar to this plan...

I'm not saying they won't pull something with parking, but I am saying that it's not as likely as you imply.

David Holroyd 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Do ;you realize how much land it takes for 532 parking spaces....and then LAND for the buildings also.

How big is the new lot at 11th and Mississippi?

Go look at it....and imagine an even bigger one for 532 spaces..

CHAD what is the land zoned for...it once was to be an office park....Would you be so kind as to review the old articles about what the proposed plans were years ago?

I really hate to go through the files I have...but I guess I will have to do it...

I do not recall it being mixed use!

Andrew Applegarth 9 months, 2 weeks ago

You could just look at the conceptual site plan and see exactly what size it would take for 532 parking spaces plus the buildings. Even if they don't follow it like you anticipate happening, it still shows how much space it would take to do it...

David Holroyd 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Conceptual site plans....lets talk about those...

HERE.....what a conceptual site plan they had and what did it turn out to be.

If it looks pretty it passes at the Proctology Department in Planning and Development..and the with the city commission as well.

The problem is the Tyson's has NUGGETS that our commissioners are missing!

The lack of 'nuggets" leads to poor thinking .

Now I understand better why the parking lots are in the shape they are and the dumpster areas and the roof on the Mausoleum...

THE COMMISSIONERS are missing nuggets!

And Mr. Markus as well....the city cannot fix the simple fixes...NO bus cutout on 23rd and all that work.

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