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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.