Major duplex development planned near Kasold and Peterson; Farmer to hold listening sessions; city gets update on Ninth Street arts corridor
Maybe duplex living is going to make a comeback in Lawrence. (Again, my apologies to multiple Lawrence duplex residents. I thought “party wall” meant something completely different.) Plans have been filed to build 87 duplex living units near the corner of Kasold Drive and Peterson Road, which would be the largest duplex development in Lawrence since at least 2005.
Plans have been filed to expand the Hutton Farms development near the intersection. The plans call for the development of about 16 vacant acres just to the west of the existing multifamily development. The development will feature private streets and clubhouse access, and it's being described as an “exclusive residential community.”
The development group — the plans don’t make it entirely clear who will develop the property, but it is owned by a group led by Thomas Fritzel — plan to start construction in March and have units ready to occupy by August, according to the plans. The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission will consider a preliminary development plan for the project at its Jan. 26 meeting. The property already has received some preliminary approvals. Back when Hutton Farms was approved several years ago, this piece of ground was identified as a Phase II development for the project. Back then, plans called for up to 102 living units on the site. The current plans have reduced that to 87 living units. One change from those original plans is that the development is seeking a curb cut on Peterson Road, which has been improved since Hutton Farms was originally approved.
Look for other duplex development to happen in the area as well. As we previously have reported, a new assisted living/retirement community is planned for the southwest corner of Peterson Road and Monterey Way. Well, it now looks like that development also will include some duplex construction. A new final development plan has been filed for that project, which is being built by Columbia, Mo.-based Americare. The latest plans show the project will have 14 units of new duplex living units (in other words, seven building with two units apiece.) Plans also call for a pair of one-bedroom triplexes. The duplexes and triplexes will serve as independent living units for seniors. The project also still includes an assisted living building that will have 30 one-bedroom units, and a separate assisted living facility that will have 10 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom living units.
The project — which will operate under the names Parkway Gardens and The Arbors — plans to have a special emphasis on caring for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. No word on when the facility will open, but the final development plan is usually a sign that construction is set to kick into high gear. Indeed, dirt work is already underway at the site.
The largest duplex project in the city, however, may be occurring at 31st and Kasold. As we have reported previously, the large amount of construction at the Kasold Curve is for a new residential neighborhood being developed by Lawrence real estate broker Mike McGrew and others. The development is expected to have about 130 townhomes, or about 65 structures.
Clearly the duplex trend is making a comeback in Lawrence. Between 2001 and 2004, Lawrence builders constructed more than 200 duplex living units each and every year. Then the market started to fade away. More recently, there have been fewer than 20 built in most years.
In other news and notes from around town:
• Lawrence city commissioners are in the mood to get an earful these days. They recently heard plenty of feedback about what residents didn’t like about the proposal to build a $28 million police headquarters facility. Now City Commissioner Jeremy Farmer plans to host a series of listening sessions to get feedback about major projects the city should tackle over the next five years.
Farmer has set dates for four listening sessions where he wants to hear ideas related to “people, projects and programs." The dates are:
— 6 p.m. Feb. 11 at the North Lawrence Depot;
— 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the East Lawrence Recreation Center;
— 6 p.m. Feb. 16 at Fire Station No. 5;
— 6 p.m. Feb. 26 at Sports Pavilion Lawrence.
The main idea behind the listening session is that several residents have been telling commissioners that they don’t believe the commission has done a good job of long-range planning for the city. Some were particularly concerned that both the library expansion and the Rock Chalk Park project ended up receiving city funding before a police headquarters project was taken to the voters in November.
Farmer said he wants to hear what large building projects the city should be thinking about over the next five years, and what priority ought to be placed on them. But Farmer said he also wants to hear ideas on projects other than buildings. That may include programs to boost mental health care, expanded recycling, homeless services or any host of topics that might be on the mind of residents. Farmer said he plans to gather all the comments from the sessions and then prepare a report for the entire commission sometime in March.
Farmer, who if tradition holds, is in line to become mayor in April, said he plans to have several listening sessions on different topics during the final two years of his term.
“I think we have not done as good of job listening as we need to,” Farmer said. “I think we got the wake-up call with the police headquarters vote.”
• There will be a lot of listening going on about the plan to convert a portion of Ninth Street into an arts corridor. Commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday received an update about how the consultant plans to gather input for the project, which will stretch from about Massachusetts Street to Delaware Street in East Lawrence.
Josh Shelton, a principal with the design firm el dorado inc., told commissioners his company has put together a plan that will provide multiple opportunities for East Lawrence, downtown Lawrence, artists and other key stakeholders to be involved in the design of the project, which is envisioned to produce a new street, sidewalks and multiple places for public art along the corridor.
The proposed process creates two steering committees: one general steering committee that will include a mix of city officials, neighborhood representatives and other stakeholders; and a second technical steering committee that also will include a mix of City Hall and community members. The general steering committee is expected to meet at least once a month with the project team. The technical steering committee will meet later in the process.
The process also proposes three “public design workshops.” The first one will discuss the role of public art in the process. The second one will discuss the concepts of complete street design, urban landscaping and multimodal transportation. The third one will discuss the history of the project area and how it may shape the project’s design.
Shelton is proposing about a $290,000 contract to oversee the initial Phase I design of the project. Commissioners are scheduled to vote on that contract at next week’s City Commission meeting. El Dorado also is expected to get a phase II contract to do more detailed design work. A price hasn’t yet been set for that work, but has been estimated to be between $275,000 to $375,000.
The total project is expected to cost about $3.3 million to design and build. The Lawrence Arts Center plans to contribute $350,000 through grants and other funds. The remainder would come from city tax dollars.
The project has drawn concern from some East Lawrence residents, who have said they are worried the corridor will turn East Lawrence into an entertainment district and make the area unaffordable for many current residents. Shelton, however, met recently with the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association, and city officials said they feel like the project is gaining the trust of East Lawrence residents. Shelton said he’s also sought to assure stakeholders that getting their input and ideas is a critical part of the project.
“That is part of doing urban design the right way,” Shelton said. “Tapping the creative talent that Lawrence has is going to be very exciting.”
Development roundup: the Kasold curve, Myers Liquor and more speculation about a downtown restaurant
All the way back in 2009, we told you to keep an eye on the piece of farmland at 31st and Kasold, also known as the Kasold curve, for a new housing development.
Well, your eye is probably getting pretty tired by now, but there are signs once again that a significant housing development may occur on the site.
Paperwork has been filed at the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department related to a duplex development that would allow for 126 living units on the just less than 30 acre site at 3309 W. 31st St.
The site also still has property set aside for a new church for Lawrence Wesleyan Church. As we reported back in 2009, a desire for that church to expand is what was driving this whole development scenario. Pastor Nate Rovenstine back then said the church had to purchase a large chunk of property at the curve to secure the site, and was open to parceling part of the area off for private, residential development.
It appears that is still the case. The property already has the proper zoning to allow for duplex development and for the church. Now, it appears, the issue appears to be just how many duplex units the site can accommodate. So, tell your eye to be patient. It is still a corner worth watching.
Speaking of things that have drawn the attention of the eye, some of you have been asking me about the construction work underway at Myers Liquor at 23rd and Alabama streets.
The fact some of you have forgotten surprises me because the project has to do with a drive-thru liquor lane — and normally that is the type of news that Lawrence folks remember.
Back in December, we reported the liquor store was working on a plan to add a drive-thru lane — a first for Lawrence — and also to expand the building by about 1800 feet to accommodate a separate tenant. Well, the construction work underway is proof the plan is coming together. The new space is to the west of the existing liquor store. Owner Christian Walter told me he doesn’t yet have a tenant lined up for the new space, which will about double the amount of retail space on that corner. Walter said he is open to a variety of possible tenants that could be complimentary to the liquor store business. (Just to clarify, that doesn’t mean it has to be liquor-related — although a store that specializes in selling limes and salt would be very convenient.)
Construction work has started now with the hopes of being able to have the bulk of the project completed by the time the KU school year really gets into gear. I’ve heard liquor stores get busy at that time.
While we’re updating items we’ve written about, we might as well tackle one other. Back in May, I mentioned that another restaurant is likely to occupy the space at 814 Massachusetts that formerly was home to La Parilla. La Parilla, of course, has moved to larger space at 724 Massachusetts St.
George Paley, the landlord for the building at 814 Massachusetts., told me recently plans are still on track for a new restaurant to locate in the space. He’s not yet divulging the name of the tenant, but he is squashing one piece of speculation. After our report in May, a few readers started speculating that a diner type of restaurant led by Robert Krause — the high-end chef who founded The Burger Stand — would be moving into the space. Paley told me that is not so. He said Krause isn’t involved with the new restaurant planned for 814 Massachusetts. (That doesn’t mean Krause isn’t moving forward with the concept elsewhere. I don’t know, but will tell you when I do.)
But Paley is very excited about what will be going into his building. He said he thinks it has a chance to be “one of the finer restaurants in the history of Lawrence.” What that means in terms of the type of restaurant it will be, I don’t know. (George doesn’t invite me out for dinner enough.) But when I hear more, I’ll pass it along.