What’s the big project happening along 31st Street? And other questions from readers

photo by: Chad Lawhorn

Excavation work was underway on property owned by DCCCA along 31st Street, May 24, 2018.

A few news and notes from around town:

• There are certainly days I’ve surveyed my lawn and thought a bulldozer would work better than a lawnmower too. But, since this is in writing, I’m going to contend I’ve never acted on that feeling. The need to do some major cleanup, though, is behind a large excavation project happening along 31st Street.

Several readers have been asking what is going on just west of Cottonwood Inc. at 2801 W. 31st St. The property is large and vacant, and in the last few weeks has been the site of a lot of earth-moving equipment. When you see that sort of thing in Lawrence, you immediately think of another apartment complex or something like that.

But there have been no plans filed for such a project, and there apparently won’t be. The property is owned by the Lawrence-based nonprofit DCCCA, which provides substance-abuse treatment and other services. But the site isn’t being cleared to make way for a new substance-abuse treatment center either, said Jenn Hethcoat, director of communication for DCCCA.

Instead, Hethcoat said, the extensive work is just part of an effort to clean up the property so it can be better maintained. A long-vacant farmhouse sat on part of the property. Hethcoat said DCCCA leaders determined it had become unsafe and needed to be torn down. While hiring an excavation crew to remove the house, DCCCA decided to do some other drainage and evacuation.

“It needed to be cleaned up so we can maintain it and so we know what is going on with the property,” Hethcoat said.

The property had a good amount of brush and other cover, which had created some concern that there was illegal camping taking place on the site.

“That may have been suspected,” Hethcoat said.

DCCCA has owned the property — which actually stretches all the way to the South Lawrence Trafficway — for several years. Part of the property is adjacent to the DCCCA First Step at Lakeview, which is a former nursing home that has been converted into a residential treatment center for women.

Hethcoat, though, said the excavation work isn’t a sign that facility will soon expand.

photo by: Nick Krug

Plans have been filed to build a 700-bedroom student apartment complex on this undeveloped piece of land directly east of Walmart at 33rd and Iowa streets, pictured Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. The project, which is being called The Collegiate at Lawrence would sit on the 27-acre site, which is bordered by the South Lawrence Trafficway, at left and bottom, and Michigan Street, at right.

• The large amount of dirt work that is part of an apartment complex is the project underway behind the south Iowa Street Walmart. We reported late last year that plans had been filed for The Collegiate of Lawrence, but several of you have forgotten that and keep asking what all the activity is about.

The Collegiate will be one of the largest student apartment complexes in the city. The plans call for 784 bedrooms spread out among 98 buildings on 27 acres. The site is just east of Walmart but stretches south all the way to the South Lawrence Trafficway, where the work is quite visible.

Trinitas Ventures of Lafayette, Ind., is the developer of the project. It has student apartment complexes in many college towns across the country. It will be awhile before the complex opens, but expect to see the company become more visible in town soon.

The company has filed plans to create a model apartment, plus offices for Trinitas, near the KU campus. The company is working to locate in space above the new McLain’s Market, which took over the space at 1420 Crescent Road that used to house the Jayhawk Bookstore. In case you had forgotten about McLain’s, we wrote about it last year. It is a sister store to the popular McLain’s Bakery in the Waldo district of Kansas City. It serves a variety of pastries, breakfast and lunch items. It has completely remade the old bookstore space, including a large and Internet-connected study area.

• People are asking what the new building is where Taco John’s used to be at 23rd and Ousdahl. We reported in December that plans had been filed for a new Sprint Wireless store to be constructed at the site. I don’t believe there has been any change in plans with that, but I’ve asked city officials for an update.

The one thing that has changed since that December report is Sprint and T-Mobile are in serious merger talks. Interestingly, there is a T-Mobile store right across the street from the proposed Sprint store. I’m guessing that is a sign that the new corporate headquarters for the combined company will be at 23rd and Ousdahl. Or maybe not. But it will be interesting to watch whether both buildings remain phone stores.

• People also are asking when the Aldi grocery store will reopen near 31st and Iowa streets. I’ve asked, but the company hasn’t yet given me a date. I’ll ask around in some other ways and pass along any information I get.


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