Bakery planned at 19th and Barker; KU moving ahead on intergenerational neighborhood; city handing out grants
I don't know about you, but I would rather eat bread than do laundry, which explains why an increasing number of my pants have broken elastic waistbands and have to be stored in a garden shed downwind from the house.
But if you are like me in this regard, there is good news. A longtime East Lawrence laundromat is being replaced with a bakery that will specialize in homemade breads. As I mentioned last week, I had gotten wind of a rumor that East Lawrence was going to get a new bakery, and now I've confirmed that it is going into the former laundromat building at East 19th Street and Barker Avenue.
A Lawrence resident who makes his living as a pastry chef in Kansas City will open the establishment with his brother later this year.
"We want to be a neighborhood bakery and cafe that makes great artisan bread and great coffee," said Taylor Petrehn, who currently is a pastry chef for Kansas City's Parisi Coffee.
The new establishment will be called 1900 Barker Bakery and Cafe. If you are not familiar with the location, it is the bungalow-style laundromat at the southeast corner of 19th and Barker. (A question to ponder over four or five loaves of sourdough, cheese and stout: Does an intersection with a roundabout still have corners?)
Petrehn said he plans to bake a variety of breads daily, but he expects them to have some common characteristics: a sourdough-method of leavening, lots of whole grains, and "substantial" crusts that are perhaps a bit darker and more caramelized that many traditional breads.
He also plans one other curveball for the bread industry. Instead of focusing his baking on the early-morning hours, he plans to do his baking during the day, so the loaves are fresh out of the oven in the afternoon.
"We want people to stop by and get fresh bread for dinner, rather than buying bread that has been sitting around all day," Petrehn said.
Petrehn, who lives in the Barker neighborhood, said his brother, Reagan Petrehn, will be in charge of the coffee side of the business. Reagan has won an award in a regional barista competition, Petrehn said, and he currently is in China as part of a coffee-related project.
Petrehn said the shop also will have some pastries, such as croissants and chocolate chip cookies, but he said the focus very much will be on breads.
Although I'm excited about another bread option, the new business does spell the end for a bit of a Lawrence institution. The building at 1900 Barker has served as a laundromat for at least the last 60 years, Petrehn said, according to records he has researched from the city. The building has had some interesting history, including a time when a newborn child was abandoned there by her mother. I wrote about that piece of history back in early 2013.
As for when the bakery will open, Petrehn said he doesn't have an exact date. He's wrapping up obligations with Parisi Coffee, and renovation work on the building is just now getting underway. But he said the new business will be up and running by the end of 2014.
"We have a lot of work to do on the building," Petrehn said. "But being in the neighborhood is going to be great."
In other news and notes from around town:
• Speaking of neighborhoods, there has been talk off and on of an effort by the private sector and the university to build something called an "intergenerational neighborhood." Part of the idea is to attract more retirees to Lawrence, but the neighborhood would be built on the premise that today's retirees don't want to be entirely surrounded by other retirees. They want to be in a neighborhood of mixed ages and family types.
At one point, there was some discussion about property south and east of the Rock Chalk Park sports complex being used to house the intergenerational neighborhood. Then news on the project became a bit quiet. Well, it is not because the idea has disappeared like a loaf of sourdough and a pound of butter. Rather, it simply has been because Kansas University officials have been dotting their i's and crossing their t's.
The university last last week officially issued a request for qualifications to partner with KU on an "Intergenerational Living Laboratory." What that means is that any experienced development group is encouraged to submit a proposal on building an intergenerational neighborhood in Lawrence.
As far as what KU would bring to the partnership, it appears to be programming, classes and other unique experiences available to residents of the neighborhood. There also may be the use of the KU brand name, which could be important from a developer's standpoint.
More specifically, the university states in the request for qualifications that it "intends to provide support for the residence by offering programs or opportunities for KU students, staff and faculty of various KU departments, schools and disciplines, including but not limited to: nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, music therapy, architecture, sustainability, design and planning, preventative and public health, psychology and sociology to engage in hands on training, research and education at the residence and in collaboration with staff and residents of the facility for appropriate fees."
From what I've gathered, the university is interested in the project, in part, because it thinks these intergenerational neighborhoods are going to be a big deal as the American population grows older. Being able to do research in such a neighborhood in its own backyard should lead to multiple opportunities for research grants and other collaborations.
Now, determining exactly what part of KU's backyard this will be located in, will be interesting. As I mentioned, the area around Rock Chalk Park already has been proposed. We'll see if ideas for other parts of the city also come forward. Developers have until June 6 to submit their concepts. No word on when KU officials expect to make a decision on whether to proceed with a partnership.
• This is the time of year where the city of Lawrence hands out thousands of dollars worth of grants to local social service agencies, housing organizations and neighborhood associations. The money comes via the federal government through the Community Development Block Grant program and housing assistance program commonly known as HOME funds. Click here to see a full list of those groups recommended to receive funding.
Many of the associations and agencies that are scheduled to receive funding in 2014 are the same groups as in past years. But there are some exceptions.
A notable one is that the Oread Neighborhood Association is not scheduled to receive any money to support its neighborhood coordinator position and programming. In the past, the city has used a portion of the approximately $700,000 in federal CDBG funds it receives to provide funding to five neighborhood associations that serve areas of predominately low-to-middle income residents. The neighborhoods are Brook Creek, East Lawrence, North Lawrence, Pinckney and Oread. All the neighborhoods other than Oread are receiving funding this year, with several of them receiving some nice increases compared with 2013. The amounts range from a low of about $4,800 for North Lawrence to about $7,900 for East Lawrence.
Oread submitted an application for about $12,500 in funding, but the city-appointed advisory board overseeing the applications is recommending no funding for the neighborhood association.
The memo to city commissioners doesn't explain why the group's funding application was denied, but I noted in its application that the association in its 2012-2013 budget listed about $8,100 of unspent CDBG funds that it previously had been awarded.
The issue of neighborhood associations in Oread, which is the neighborhood primarily north and east of KU's main campus, has been a contentious one recently. Several years ago, there was wholesale change in leadership with the Oread Neighborhood Association. Several landlords were elected to the officer positions on the board, much to the chagrin of several residents who lived in the neighborhood and had served on the board. The landlords, however, noted that most of the property in Oread is rental-based, so having landlords lead the association has some logic to it. But several residents formed an alternative neighborhood association called the Oread Residents Association. It is not receiving any city funding in 2014 either.
Currently, the Oread Neighborhood Association is led by president Serina Hearn, who is a local landlord who has had some run-ins with City Hall.
• Neighborhood associations aren't the only group seeking money through the CDBG program. The money is also used to build things, and the city in recent years has been submitting its own applications to build projects. After taking a year off, the city once again is seeking grant money for a sidewalk gap program. The program aims to fill in sidewalk gaps in a variety of neighborhoods. The city advisory board is recommending that the city's Public Works Department receive $85,900 in CDBG funds for a sidewalk gap program.
The department has identified a list of 12 locations it will consider for work: 16th Street, north side Rhode Island to Barker; Winona Street, both sides from Barker west to existing sidewalk; Naismith Drive, east side from Campus Court to 23rd Street; Crescent Street, south side near Naismith Drive; 27th Street, north side from Arkansas to Naismith bridge; Ridge Court, west side from 25th to 27th streets; 26th Street, south side near Ridge Court; 19th Terrace north side between Naismith and Ousdahl; west side of 900 block of Arkansas; west side of 600 block of Michigan; wheelchair ramp at southeast corner of Ninth and Iowa.
Whether the city will be able to do work in all the locations, however, isn't yet clear. The recommended funding amount is about $35,000 less than what the department had requested.
Sidewalk and pedestrian issues will be an interesting issue to watch in coming months. I'm hearing word that there may even be a proposal to raise property taxes in the 2015 budget to allow for more work on sidewalk issues. As I get more information on that, I'll pass it along.
City commissioners at their 6:35 p.m. meeting on Tuesday will consider approving the CDBG and HOME funding amounts.
More LJWorld City Coverage
Capital City Bank signs deal for west Lawrence location; retirement neighborhood near Rock Chalk Park gaining momentum
Development prospects in northwest Lawrence are once again heating up.
I have gotten word of two projects to keep an eye on: a new multitenant development at Sixth and Folks Road that will include a bank and a medical office; and a significant step forward for a major retirement and intergenerational neighborhood near Rock Chalk Park near Sixth and the South Lawrence Trafficway.
First, the bank project. Mark Gonzales, president of Capital City Bank's Lawrence operations, confirmed to me that Capital City Bank has signed a deal to locate in a future office building at the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Folks Road.
The bank will be part of a project put together by Lawrence developer Adam Williams, who was the principal behind the development of the new retail building at Sixth and Congressional that houses Papa Murphy's, MeritTrust Credit Union, the Wireless Zone and Prime Martial Arts. Plans call for a 6,500 square-foot building to be constructed on undeveloped land just caddy-corner from the Douglas County Bank location at the intersection. The building will have room for three tenants: Capital City Bank; an undisclosed medical office that is relocating from within Lawrence; and a 2,100 square-foot space that Williams is still seeking to lease.
Gonzales said the bank has been looking for several years for a west Lawrence location to place a full-service bank with a drive-thru. Capital City Bank currently has two locations in Lawrence: On the ground floor of the Hobbs Taylor Lofts building in downtown, and in the Hy-Vee grocery store on West Sixth Street. Gonzales said the bank is still contemplating whether to keep the Hy-Vee location open once the new bank location opens.
Williams said he hopes to break ground later this month, which would allow for the project to be completed by midsummer of 2014. Gonzales said the new location largely is being driven by a desire to offer more convenience, and especially a drive thru, to the bank's west Lawrence customers. Gonzales said Capital City — which also has banks in the Topeka and Overland Park markets — is optimistic about the future growth prospects for northwest Lawrence. But Gonzales said he's not ready to declare that the Lawrence banking market is in full rebound mode at the moment.
"We're still in a stagnant market right now," he said. "There have been a few big projects to lend on, but the smaller projects really haven't picked up yet."
But Gonzales said he thinks the community is primed to grow, if it just gets a catalyst such as a major new employment announcement or some other positive development.
"The good thing is, I think everybody pretty much is singing from the same page right now," he said. "We have been stagnant long enough that almost everybody recognizes we need to grow some as a community now."
As for the remaining space available in the building, Williams said it is zoned for commercial office use. He said that could be almost any type of professional office ranging from attorneys to accountants to insurance agents. He said another medical office use would fit well in the building also. (A bank surrounded by two doctors' offices. Throw in a reference to a certain type of exam, and there is a joke in there somewhere.)
••• What's no joke is that plans are getting more serious on this idea of a Campus Village, which would be a unique retirement/intergenerational neighborhood that would have a strong partnership with Kansas University.
Hugh Carter, an executive with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, confirmed to me that the nonprofit board for the Campus Village project has agreed to negotiate a development deal with Kansas City-based Lane4 Property Group.
As we previously reported, Lane4 had made a pitch to the board to develop about 60 acres of property just east of Sixth Street and George Williams Way, behind the St. Margaret's Episcopal Church. The site is just south and east of the Rock Chalk Park sports complex. When we reported on Lane4's proposal last month, Carter still labeled the chances of a deal as a bit of a longshot. But the development company last week made a new pitch to the nonprofit board and greatly impressed the leaders of the Campus Village group.
Carter said the board directed longtime Campus Village proponent Dennis Domer, an architect and KU professor, and other university officials to begin negotiations on a development agreement with Lane4.
The development agreement would allow for more concrete plans to be developed for the 60 acres, which some of you may know as the undeveloped Oregon Trail addition that has been owned by local real estate leader John McGrew and others.
But Carter said a concept plan gives a good glimpse at what the development may include: A four or five-story signature building near Sixth and George Williams Way that would house about 180 units of independent living for seniors 55 and up; an approximately 120-unit, nonprofit "community care retirement center" for people who need greater assistance; and a mix of single family homes, townhouses, and apartments that would be open to both retirees and young families.
The big underlying theme of the development is an "intergenerational neighborhood" where people aren't segregated or labeled by their age.
"We're hoping to be the first of what will be a trend," Carter said. "We're hoping to make a national splash."
Adding to the uniqueness of the development would be involvement by Kansas University. The Campus Village board includes several high-level executives from KU. The university has shown an interest in having research space available within the development so various schools and departments could use the neighborhood as a resource in health, aging and sociological research. University leaders have seen other schools do similar research that has landed the schools millions of dollars in grant money.
The university also is interested in having a KU-oriented development that could be marketed to alumni interested in returning to Lawrence. KU officials have watched other schools, like the University of Missouri, have success with that model. (No word yet on whether the as-yet-unnamed KU project will try to copy the Mizzou model, such as: covered parking, complete with cement blocks for propping up your motorized buggies; comfortable tree stumps for banjo picking and moonshine sipping; and recreation classes consisting of remedial basketball lessons. I'm guessing the KU project may go in a different direction.)
At the moment, Carter said KU is not being asked to help finance the construction of the project. Developers are planning for the project to be a private one from a financial standpoint, but would like KU assistance in marketing the facility to KU alumni. At the moment, there aren't plans to ask city and county government to provide taxpayer financing for the project either. But it will be worth watching to see if the project eventually seeks some other types of incentives, such as industrial revenue bonds.
But, of course, all this is still tentative until a development agreement is signed among all the parties. That could take another 60 days or so, depending on how quickly it works its way through the university process, Carter said. I hope to sit down with some of the principals of the proposed project in coming weeks to get more details.
There are more signs that Lawrence is growing older.
There are at least two new projects in the senior housing industry in Lawrence. City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting are set to finalize a sales tax exemption request for a $2.1 million construction project for Neuvant House in west Lawrence.
As we reported back in July, plans have been filed by Neuvant House to significantly expand its building at 1216 Biltmore Dr. Well, those plans are now moving forward.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Neuvant House is expected to receive industrial revenue bonds, which will allow the project to buy its construction materials without paying sales tax.
The project essentially will double the amount of space Neuvant House has to care for people with dementia and other ailments. The new building — which will be located adjacent to the company’s existing facility — will have 14 private rooms, some of which will be able to accommodate not only the patient but also a spouse.
The facility also will have several common areas, including a living room, an exercise room, a whirlpool room, a beauty shop and other amenities.
Neuvant House’s current facility specializes in treating people with dementia. The new facility will have a broader focus, according to Matthew Stephens, administrator for the Lawrence location. The company has had a waiting list at its current facility since about December 2011.
Construction is expected to begin soon, and probably will take about nine months to complete.
As for the industrial revenue bonds for the project, the state previously had a program that allowed projects like this one to apply for a special sales tax exemption on construction materials. But that program recently was discontinued, and such projects have been instructed to apply for industrial revenue bond financing instead. The city has no obligation to pay the IRBs if there is a default. And with these industrial revenue bonds, the project does not receive a property tax abatement.
The new addition is expected to pay more than $20,000 a year in property taxes, and create 10 new jobs with an average salary of about $30,000 per year. The company will save anywhere from about $55,000 to $90,000 in sales taxes with the exemption, depending on the final cost of construction.
The second project is at the longtime Lawrence retirement community Presbyterian Manor.
The entire Presbyterian Manor group recently refinanced much of its debt, and that freed up $600,000 in funds for the Lawrence facility to renovate its apartments.
The facility at 1429 Kasold Dr. has 73 independent-living townhomes and apartments. The new project is part of a multiyear funding plan to renovate the units. Rhonda Parks, executive director of the facility, said plans call for new kitchens, bathrooms, carpets, tile and other improvements. The work will be done as apartments and townhomes become vacant.
“The market has been good, and we’re very appreciative of that,” Parks said of the demand for senior housing in the community.
The new projects come at a time when the city and county are making a push to boost Lawrence’s appeal as a retirement community. Those efforts include talk of a major “intergenerational neighborhood” that would be built somewhere in the city and would include independent living and retirement home services.