Signs of a new retailer coming for the old Payless ShoeSource building on south Iowa Street; former Pier 1 building also being renovated

The former Payless Shoesource building on south Iowa Street is under renovation.

Despite seeing their advertisements all the time, I’m still not sure I understand what my “Sleep Number” is. I’m estimating that it is 0.3, which is roughly equivalent to the number of inches of the bed I get to use, while the rest is reserved for my lovely wife and a not so lovely Boston terrier. But all of us in Lawrence soon may get a better idea about Sleep Number. The national mattress company appears to have plans to locate in Lawrence.

Construction work is underway to remodel the former Payless ShoeSource building at 3231 Iowa St., in front of the Target store. I haven’t got any official confirmation from the building’s owners that Sleep Number is taking over the space, but the mattress company’s name is listed on the building permit on file with Lawrence City Hall.

The former Payless Shoesource building on south Iowa Street is under renovation.

View Map

If you are not familiar with Sleep Number, evidently your television must have broken a long time ago. The company has those commercials asking “What’s your Sleep Number?” (If 0.3 isn’t correct, I’m going to guess 913. At least that is the area code I get shipped to when I snore.)

Actually, the Minnesota-based company manufactures special air beds that can have their firmness levels adjusted by adding or removing air as the user changes a sleep number from 0 to 100. The beds even are designed so one side can be at one setting while another side is at a different setting.

The company sells its beds through a fleet of about 550 company-owned stores across the country. In this area, the company already has a store in Topeka and several in the Kansas City metro area.

The company, which is traded on the Nasdaq, may be a little more interesting to watch than the standard mattress business. The company is becoming more of a biometrics firm all the time. Certain models of Sleep Number beds are equipped with “touch-free, biometric sensors” that track a sleeper’s “whole body hundreds of times per second,” according to the company’s website. By monitoring data such as heart rate, breathing patterns and sleep cycles, the company can use “adaptive algorithms and predictive modeling to recommend adjustments to daily habits and environment.” And, of course, they can send all this data to your smart phone. Think of it as “smart bed” technology, although I thought that simply meant getting the door closed before the dog could get in.

No word on when the store will open, but construction work is well underway.

A typical Sleep Number store. Courtesy: Sleep Number

In other news and notes from around town:

• Construction work is also underway two doors down from the old Payless building. Crews currently are remodeling the former Pier 1 Imports building at 3211 Iowa St. I don’t have information about new tenants for that building. The most I can tell you is that the building permit indicates the development group has decided to split the building into several pieces to accommodate multiple tenants.

At one point, there was a small sign in the window saying a Sprint wireless phone store was coming to the site. Perhaps that is still the case, but I’m not sure. If so, perhaps Sprint is planning to take over the world. The company has filed plans to construct a new building at the corner of 23rd and Ousdahl where Taco John’s was once located. In addition, there is already a Sprint store in the shopping center at 27th and Iowa streets, so that would make for three in fairly short order.

Regardless, I’ll keep an eye out for any signs of new businesses coming to the project. Between that building and the new retail space next to Buffalo Wild Wings at 27th and Iowa, there are several chances for new businesses to locate along the south Iowa corridor.