National smoothie chain coming to northwest Lawrence, plus update on new pizza option
At Sixth and Wakarusa, your jaw could get tired of chewing from all the pizza options that are at the intersection. Indeed, construction has started on the previously reported Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom. Soon, though, there will be a new food option where chewing isn’t required. A national smoothie chain has struck a deal to locate at the busy northwest Lawrence corner.
I’ve confirmed that Smoothie King is one of the tenants that will locate in the new retail building under construction at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. If you are like me and consider a smoothie to be the gravy that goes on your potatoes, you may not know a lot about Smoothie King.
According to its website, the shop sells more than 60 varieties of smoothies. The shop certainly isn’t just a glorified dessert place. The menu groups its smoothie creations into categories including, fitness blends, slim blends, wellness blends and “take a break” blends. The last category is a bit dessert-oriented with quite a few sweet juices and even some frozen yogurt. In that category you can get creations such as a Banana Boat, a Caribbean Way or something called a Muscle Punch. (I think I got one of those in junior high gym class once.)
But the other categories focus a lot on some more specialized ingredients, like protein powders for those folks who are trying to bulk up, or high-fiber combinations for those folks trying to slim down, or kale and spinach for those folks who enjoy hearing they have something green stuck between their teeth.
I’ve got a call into the franchise owner for the Lawrence store. My understanding is the Lawrence operator also operates the already-open Smoothie King in Olathe. Smoothie King has about a dozen locations in the Kansas City metro area, but this will be the first one for either Lawrence or Topeka.
No word yet on when the business may open, although Phil Peck, the commercial real estate agent with Block & Company who is handling leasing for the project, said the basic construction of the building is expected to be completed next month. That could allow businesses to complete their necessarily remodeling by the third or fourth quarter of the year.
Peck said leasing activity is going well on the other parts of the building. He said an AT&T phone store has taken part of the space, and a dental-oriented business also has signed a lease. Fitness-oriented businesses and hair salons also have been expressing interest he said.
He said interest has picked up as the number of available commercial spaces in the Bauer Farm development at the northeast corner of Sixth and Wakarus has declined. And while it has maybe taken longer than some expected, the draw of being next to the Sixth and Wakarusa Walmart is also starting to kick in.
“It really doesn’t get any better than being right in front of a Walmart,” Peck said. “I think tenants are seeing the value in it. There are not a lot of other spots out there, and a lot of growth really is happening in the northwest part of town.”
As for the Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom, I reported in August about that deal being struck. However, construction work had been slow to get started. Construction, though, is in full gear now. When you are driving through the intersection, the building closest to the northwest corner of Sixth and Wakarusa will house the Smoothie King and other smaller retailers. The building under construction just north of that building will house the Old Chicago restaurant. The building a bit north of that building house the already-opened Spin Neapolitan pizza. And then there are the at least three pizza places on the south side of the intersection. As long as the Muscle Punch doesn’t hit me too hard, I can probably sample them all.