Posts tagged with Apartments
Lawrence home builders have best first quarter since 2010, according to new report; Hallmark undertakes another $3.3 million in construction
Shine that hammer and sharpen that saw. There are signs that the Lawrence homebuilding industry is getting busier.
According to a new report released by City Hall, builders started 23 new single-family or duplex homes in Lawrence during March. That brings the total number of single-family and duplex permits to 42, which is the highest first-quarter total since 2010.
For decades, single-family home construction has been the bread and butter of the Lawrence construction industry, and a major driver in the overall Lawrence economy. But the industry has hit hard times. In 2011, only 95 single family building permits were issued for the entire year, snapping a 55-year streak of the city issuing at least 100 new single-family building permits annually.
Since then, the industry has been creeping back. But this latest report is the best sign yet that the industry is getting a new footing. The first-quarter single-family and duplex numbers are 40 percent higher than the 2012 first-quarter numbers and are double the 2011 first-quarter totals.
The latest report also had strong numbers for several other parts of the local construction industry. Here’s a look at other figures from the March report:
• The city issued permits for $12.1 million worth of projects in March, the highest March total since 2009.
• For the year, the city has issued permits for $34.9 million worth of projects, the highest first-quarter total in the past five years.
• As we’ve previously reported, Hallmark Cards is moving all of its U.S. greeting card production to its Lawrence plant as part of a reorganization. That project is continuing to pay dividends for the local construction industry. Hallmark took out a $3.3 million building permit to make interior renovations to the plant. That’s in addition to $1.2 million worth of permits Hallmark already had received for the project earlier this year. If your abacus is a bit rusty, that means Hallmark now has undertaken $4.5 million worth of work at the plant during the first three months of the year.
• The city didn’t issue any permits for new apartment construction in March, but for the first quarter, that sector has been busy. Through the first three months of the year, the city has issued permits for 286 apartment units, the highest first-quarter total of the past five years.
Raise your hand if you believe pajamas ought to be the new business casual. I’m betting today’s blizzard has lots of folks working from home in their pj's today.
One group that you won’t find working in pajamas often is builders. (Trust me, if you try to hang a hammer from a pair of pajama bottoms, bad things happen.) And there is a new report out of City Hall that suggests January was a reasonably busy month for the Lawrence construction industry.
These days, when the Lawrence construction industry is busy, the best bet for the reason behind it is apartments. That’s the case this time, too.
City officials issued building permits for $11.9 million worth of new apartments on the large open site just west of the Wal-Mart at Sixth Street and Congressional Drive. The project — which carries an address of 5100 W. Sixth St., if you are scoring along at home — calls for 264 dwelling units in 11 buildings.
If you are trying to picture the site, it is the location that Lowe’s once was interested in. But as we began reporting last summer, apartment developers became interested in the property after Lowe’s slowed down its expansion plans. I’m not entirely clear on which developer is behind this project. At one time my understanding was that a local builder — although not one of the big apartment developers like a Schwada or a Compton — was behind the project. But the apartment industry has been full of change in Lawrence, so I had better do some more checking before I repeat a name.
I have a feeling we will have a lot of opportunities to talk about apartments in 2013. City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting approved the preliminary development plan for The Links, which we’ve previously reported is a major apartment development that will be built around a nine-hole golf course. That development is slated for the area northeast of Sixth Street and George Williams Way. In other words, across the street from the proposed Rock Chalk Park sports village.
The Links project — which is proposed by a group out of Arkansas — is slated to have 630 dwelling units. Add that to the 264 units that just pulled a permit next to Wal-Mart, and you are to almost 900 new units being built in the Sixth Street corridor alone. Plus, the Langston Heights development southwest of George Williams Way includes plans for 86 apartment units.
It seems that folks are betting on growth again.
A lack of growth in jobs is what Lawrence leaders have been bemoaning though. The January building permit report has important news on that front as well.
The first signs emerged of Hallmark undertaking an expansion to accommodate the extra work that the plant is planned to undertake as Hallmark closes its Topeka greeting card plant.
The company pulled a permit for $600,000 worth of work at the facility. The building permit report categorized the permit as “phase one” of an expansion project.
I’ll do some checking with Hallmark to see if they are releasing more details about their expansion plans. When the Kansas City-based company made the announcement in October of the Topeka closing, it was unclear how many new jobs may be added to the Lawrence facility. The company said it expected its total workforce in Lawrence, Topeka and Leavenworth to drop from 1,300 to 1,000, but the workers would be split between two plants instead of three.
It was clear, though, the move was going to have impacts on the Lawrence plant because it would become the sole manufacturer of Hallmark greeting cards. Previously, it manufactured about two-thirds of the greeting card line, while Topeka manufactured the other third.
Here are some other numbers from January’s building report:
• The city issued permits for $16.8 million worth of construction. That by far made it the best January in recent memory. Over the past four years, the January average was about $3 million worth of projects.
• Activity on the new-home front continued to be a bit slow. The city issued permits for eight new single-family or duplex homes, compared to seven in January 2012.
Land transfers for week ending Dec. 31, including sales of apartment complexes and Massachusetts Street property
As far as New Year’s resolutions go, this one is pretty lame, but I’m going to try to be more consistent in posting weekly Douglas County land transfers. (Yes, it was kind of awkward shouting that resolution as I sprayed Champagne at the crack of midnight while at my neighbor’s New Year’s Eve party.)
Before we get going, though, a disclaimer: Unless otherwise noted, most of this information is just me relaying information from various public documents from the Douglas County Courthouse and the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office. In an effort to be timely, it is not always possible to contact everyone involved. It is not always easy to ascertain what is going on with a property just by looking at the documents, so I would read these listings as a first draft of activity in the local real estate market. On particularly interesting cases, I’ll try to follow up and report back in the coming days.
So, here we go. This week did produce several interesting sales/transfers of note:
• It looks like a California-based company has made a major purchase of several apartment properties owned by companies led by Lawrence businessman Tim Stultz.
The most recent land transfers show that North Creek Investors LLC purchased apartment properties at 4100 W. 24th Place, 1501 George Williams Way, and several addresses in the 400 block of Eisenhower Drive and the 5200 block of Eisenhower Lane, which is in the developing area just north and west of Congressional and Overland drives.
The 1501 George Williams Way property is listed on the Web as the leasing office for the Ironwood Court apartments, while the 4100 W. 24th Place property is listed as the Remington Square Apartments.
As for North Creek Investors LLC, documents from the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office list it as being a multifamily management company based in Walnut Creek, Calif., and managed by businessman Mark D. Hall. I have a call into Tim Stultz, who has been one of the larger apartment developers in the city, to see if he will continue to play a role in the properties.
• It looks like there may be some activity at an old apartment building recently condemned by the city. In October, the city condemned a 24-unit apartment building at 1821 W. 26th St.
According to the land transfers, a new ownership group has purchased that building plus an adjacent apartment building at 1902 W. 26th St. The new group is called BlueJay Apartments Inc. According to documents from the secretary of state, Lawrence businessmen Timothy J. Allen, James H. Bruce and Rex Tedrow are the partners in the group. Previously, the properties were owned by a group led by Tedrow.
• It appears the vacant lot next to the Eldridge Hotel has changed hands. For years that lot has been owned by a group led by Lawrence investor Dale Miller. But according to the land transfers, the property at 705 and 707 Massachusetts Street — which on Google Maps appears to be the vacant lot just south of the hotel — has been transferred to a group led by Lawrence businessman Thomas Fritzel, who also leads the group that owns The Eldridge Hotel.
If you remember back in 2010, the hotel formally proposed an expansion of the Eldridge into the vacant lot. It called for a four-story building, 16 new hotel rooms, a restaurant and banquet space with a retractable roof and other features. But then the project never did materialize. Whether this is a sign that a project may get restarted on the property, I do not know.
• The shopping center that houses Hy-Vee, Applebee's and others at Sixth and Monterey Way showed up in the most recent land transfers. Monterey Partners LLC — which is owned by a group of Kansas City, Mo. trusts, led by the trust of metro area real estate leader Robert Johnson — has transferred the property to a new entity called Lawrence Monterey Investors LLC. That entity is so new that the Secretary of State’s Office only lists Scott Slabotsky, the managing director of the large metro accounting firm CBIZ Kansas City, as the organizer of the company. So, it is hard to know whether there actually has been a true change in ownership out there or whether this is just a corporate accounting thing. I’ll try to find out more in the coming days.
Click here to see a full list of the Douglas County land transfers for the week ending Dec. 31.
Watch out Tiger Woods. It looks like I may soon start getting paid to golf, too.
Plans have been filed at Lawrence City Hall to revive a unique apartment proposal that would include building a new nine-hole golf course in northwest Lawrence. (More on how that benefits my pocketbook in a moment.)
In fact, the plans have expanded since they first were filed back in late 2007.
Fayetteville, Ark.-based Lindsey Management has filed a proposal to build a 630-unit apartment complex that will front a new privately owned nine hole golf course at 251 Queens Road.
If you are having a hard time picturing that location, it is just a bit east of another little project that has been in the news — the proposed Kansas University/city of Lawrence sports park and recreation center.
The project would be on about 81 acres on the north side of Sixth Street, basically stretching from Queens Road toward George Williams Way. The project would run behind, or north of, the recently constructed Hunter’s Ridge Apartment Complex and St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church.
The company bought the land several years ago after it filed its original plan in 2007. But back then, the project was slated to be a 480-unit apartment complex.
The development, though, will still have room for a nine-hole golf course, and that is what really makes this apartment proposal unique. Lindsey operates apartment complexes across the Midwest and the southern U.S. that are connected to golf courses. According to the company’s Web site, in some communities residents' monthly rent provides them unlimited access to the golf course. In other communities, residents of the apartment complex get highly discounted green fees.
I’ve got a call into Lindsey officials for more details about their Lawrence plans, but haven’t yet heard back.
Some of you may be familiar with the company’s golf course and apartment projects. The company operates the Derby Golf & Country Club and the apartments around it, and also the Shawnee Golf & Country Club and those apartments.
The company also operates golf/apartment complexes in Columbia, Mo., and Springfield, Mo., in addition to projects in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama.
As for the Lawrence golf course, the plans filed at City Hall indicate it will be more than your typical, short executive golf course but probably will play a little shorter than, say, Eagle Bend.
I suspect all of this is subject to change, but here’s what I garnered about the course from the plans on file at City Hall: Hole No. 1, 333 yards; No. 2, 254 yards, plays partially over about a half-acre lake; No. 3, 100 yards; No. 4, 250 yards, plays over a portion of what looks to be an approximately 3-acre lake; No. 5, 487 yards, plays over a portion of the same lake; No. 6, 112 yards, plays through a narrow alley of trees; No. 7, 487 yards; No. 8, 123 yards; and No. 9, 333 yards.
In addition, the project will include a two-story clubhouse and a large natural area. The plans show 13 acres in the center of the property will be designated as a “tree preservation area.”
Based on the company’s Web site, it looks like in other communities the golf courses do sell some limited memberships to folks who don’t live at the apartment complex. Opening the course to public play was part of the plans in 2007. Either way, it will be new competition for the city’s existing five golf courses — two at Alvamar, Lawrence Country Club, the executive Orchards Course and the city-owned Eagle Bend.
It will be interesting to hear what has caused Lindsey officials to restart the project that was previously put on hold due to economic conditions. Just a month ago, developers of another large apartment complex proposed for the Gaslight Village Mobile Home Park in south Lawrence, pulled the plug. They said they didn’t see the demand in Lawrence, although that project was exclusively targeted to students.
This project may be more of a mix of students and retirees. From the plans, about two-thirds of the apartments will be one-bedroom units while the remainder will be two-bedroom units.
Perhaps the recreation center and sports park is spurring some new interest, or it might be the company has been encouraged by the other development happening nearby.
As I mentioned, this project will be next door to the recently completed Hunter’s Ridge Apartment Complex, which has about 500 living units. In addition, we’ve reported on two apartment projects that are either under way or have filed plans for the area north of Sixth and Wakarusa. Plus, plans have been filed for a new residential development near the southeast corner of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway. In addition to about 30 single-family homes, it includes about 50 duplexes and 85 new apartments.
So the Sixth Street corridor is showing signs of growth. But, at the moment, apartments rather than single-family homes are dominating the action.
As for how this latest golf project will help my pocketbook, that’s easy. With all those apartments so close to a golf course, it seems a given that my friends at Kennedy Glass or some other window repair shop will pay to send me and my buddy out on the course, armed with our reliable hook and slice.
I’ll be playing through from your living room in no time.