New neighborhood retail center developing in west Lawrence, seeking to attract local restaurants

photo by: Paul Werner Architects/Contributed Image

This rendering shows the plans for a proposed retail development at Clinton Parkway and Inverness Drive.

Think of the type of businesses that may want to locate next to one of the larger apartment complex areas in Lawrence. (Back in my day, that would have been a paper plate store and some type of service that warned me of when my mother was going to drop by.) Whatever the case, be on the lookout for a variety of small businesses popping up at Clinton Parkway and Inverness Drive.

A sign has emerged at the vacant property at the southeast corner of the intersection announcing that the Stone Hawk Square retail center will be built on the property. We reported on plans being filed for the center all the way back in late 2015. The project has been slow to get going, but work is now underway to attract tenants.

“We feel like local restaurants, local coffee houses, hairdressers, liquor stores, that type of thing,” Doug Brown, a broker with McGrew Commercial, said of possible tenants. “It can be a nice little neighborhood center.”

Clinton Parkway and Inverness Drive

The site is right next to several apartment complexes that easily have more than 1,000 units, and there are more apartment units — plus single family homes — not far away. Brown said the developed neighborhood should be a strong selling point for the property.

“The high number of residential units already around the property is a big plus,” Brown said. “It is sitting directly next to a lot of them. There is a pretty good built-in customer base.”

But neighbors shouldn’t worry about the property attracting national, fast food, drive-thru chains. That was a concern neighbors expressed back in 2015 and 2016 when the project was going through the City Hall approval process. But as the development group said then, Brown is again saying that the site isn’t the type to attract the restaurants like Burger King, McDonald’s or Taco Bell.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn

The site of a proposed retail development at Clinton Parkway and Inverness Drive is shown on Thursday, May 24, 2018.

“Not at all,” Brown said of the prospects of a big fast food chain locating on the site. “It is more suited to local and small businesses. I don’t see a national, unless it is something like an Orange Leaf (a frozen yogurt chain) or something like that. I don’t see a national drive-thru here. It is not their type of site.”

The approved plans, though, do include at least one building that can have a drive-thru. Brown said that could be used for anything from a bank to a coffee shop that wants to offer drive-thru service.

As for other details of the plans, which were designed by Lawrence-based Paul Werner Architects, I’m still looking to confirm a couple of details. Back in late 2015, the plans showed five buildings on the site. I believe the plans today are largely the same, but I’m looking to confirm.

One of the buildings, which is zoned to house either retail or office uses, is about 14,000 square feet, and could be divided easily enough to house five or six businesses. Another is about 8,000 square feet, which could be divided to house three or four businesses. The plans also showed three other buildings that were designed to accommodate restaurants or perhaps a bank.

At the moment, no tenants have been signed to the project. If I get more information, I’ll pass it along.


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