WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

New reasons to question whether major shopping center at SLT and U.S. 59 will ever get built

Plans to build one of the largest shopping centers in Lawrence are now in doubt after a local judge this week dismissed a lawsuit against the city. At issue is a proposed shopping center at the interchange of U.S. Highway 59 and the South Lawrence Trafficway in south Lawrence. The shopping center would add about 600,000 square feet — at least eight new stores and that many additional restaurants, plus a ...

Home sales continue to slump in Lawrence, although home prices not yet going down

We’ve heated up, evidenced by the fact that I expect to be doused with a Gatorade bath even for minor victories like getting out of my chair without pulling a muscle. But with half of the year in the books, Lawrence’s real estate market still hasn’t even warmed. We’ve been reporting all year that Lawrence’s real estate market is off to its slowest start — at least in terms of sales — in a long ...

Group that wants to spur tech startups in Lawrence says the community has a lot to learn

I once wanted to be an “angel investor,” but then I realized how much halos cost — and you had better have really good credit if you plan on writing a check for one. OK, so maybe I am confused about what an angel investor is, but so are a lot of other area residents. That was the key takeaway from a local tech startup founder who is trying to create an organization that will help Lawrence become a ...

A different type of development planned for what once was going to be the city's research park

Plans have been filed for a $1.5 million office development on the west Lawrence property that long has been designated to become Lawrence’s first true research park. But this development likely won’t produce a lot of research. Lawrence businessman Roger Johnson has filed plans at City Hall to construct three office/warehouse buildings on vacant ground at 1717 Research Park Drive, which is just a block ...

Multimillion-dollar airport project expected to make catching a charter out of Lawrence easier

A multimillion-dollar construction project at Lawrence Municipal Airport is expected to open the door to more charter jet travel options for area residents. City officials recently issued building permits for $2.1 million worth of construction for a new aircraft hangar and office building just east of the terminal building at the Lawrence Municipal Airport in North Lawrence. The building will house at least ...

Hopes for a new grocery, west Lawrence shopping center are still alive, but a big new apartment complex would help

Summer is for catching up, like on that book I never got around to reading or the garage I never got around to cleaning. (In fairness, the book is “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” so I’m confused whether I should clean the garage before or after reading the book.) Regardless, now also is a good time to catch up on a development project that has been long talked about but not yet built. We ...

New development plans filed for long-vacant corner in west Lawrence

I can certainly picture living above a doughnut shop or a neighborhood diner. (In my picture, the doors are very wide and the floor is reinforced.) But traditionally you only think of those types of scenarios in a downtown setting. A local developer, though, is betting such a concept might jumpstart a hard-to-develop west Lawrence corner. New plans have been filed at City Hall for a development at the ...

New report shows how much retail has shrunk in downtown Lawrence; citywide vacancy rates also calculated

If you were to take a stroll in downtown Lawrence in 2006, a little more than two out of every five businesses you passed would have been a retail shop. Today, roughly two out of every 10 that you pass will be a retailer. So, no, your eyes are not lying. Downtown is different these days. A new city report found downtown’s vacancy rate is higher than it has been in years, and even when the district is full, ...

Lawrence private school begins $5.4 million expansion along Clinton Parkway

When I was in school, I always was nervous to have class in one of those portable trailers. Too many of my teachers had a pickup truck with a hitch. The students at Bishop Seabury may not have the same anxiety, but, regardless, they soon won’t have to deal with those portable classrooms. The Lawrence private school has started construction on a multimillion-dollar expansion. We reported in April that ...

Downtown Grinders restaurant closes, but vows to reopen with new vibe; south Iowa Street chicken chain shuts its doors

If you want to scare a significant portion of the Lawrence population, tell them their city is beginning to look like Kansas City. That has been an attitude for a long time in Lawrence, and perhaps it has played a role in the recent closing of a downtown restaurant. Grinders — owned by a hip K.C. restaurateur — has closed its location at 733 New Hampshire St. In a Facebook post, owner Jeffrey “Stretch” ...

Tamales of all types to be focus of new restaurant slated for Ninth Street

You probably have heard of breakfast burritos. But a breakfast tamale? (Caution: Getting the Froot Loops and the milk into the corn husk can be messy.) Actually, look for a new shop that will serve a better version than that. A local restaurant owner has signed a deal to open Mama’s Tamale Shop just outside of the downtown area. Angelina Cruz — along with her husband, Maximo — have reached a deal to open ...

Auto dealer to build new showroom on 23rd Street; ice cream shop on the move and other news and notes

Look for yet another new development in the Lawrence auto industry. Laird Noller Automotive has filed plans to build an additional used car showroom on 23rd Street. The longtime Lawrence dealership has filed plans to build an approximately 3,000 square-foot used car showroom on a largely empty lot across the street from its Ford, Lincoln and Mazda dealerships near 23rd and Alabama streets. “We just need ...

Latest sales tax numbers indicate online shopping still soaring in Lawrence

I have heard that people sometimes have one identity in the real world and another online. Maybe that is happening in Lawrence. In the real world, we’ve been a bunch of spendthrifts thus far in 2019. But online, our purchases are melting credit cards across the city. The city recently received its sixth of 12 monthly sales tax checks from the state, with this one largely capturing sales that were made in ...

An exit interview with departing City Manager Tom Markus

We are really nice but not that rich. That is one takeaway I had from my final interview with Lawrence City Manager Tom Markus as he ended his tenure at City Hall last week. Markus noticed the Lawrence friendliness in the grocery store and other places where he was out and about around the community. Markus, who has been in public administration since 1973 and most recently came to Lawrence after serving in ...

New Census numbers show county's older population growing, while younger population begins to shrink; county becoming more racially diverse

Douglas County residents, if your cabinets have a growing amount of Metamucil in them, don’t feel bad. New government statistics show the county is becoming a much older place. But the younger folks must not like our pockets full of Werther’s candy because the same statistics show the county is in the beginning stages of losing its important 18- to 24-year-old population. The Census Bureau recently ...

Bioscience company files plans to expand its North Lawrence headquarters

A Lawrence company that focuses on making particles smaller needs its space to get bigger to keep up with its quest to help deliver cancer-fighting drugs to the pharmaceutical market. CritiTech — a biotech firm that Lawrence leaders long have circled as a company that could grow into a local high-tech success story — has filed plans with the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Office to expand its North ...

Concrete barriers and graffiti pop up in downtown following denial of Hub project

It is not exactly the Berlin Wall, but some chunks of concrete in downtown Lawrence are drawing some scorn — and some graffiti. A trio of downtown parking lots owned by Lawrence-based Allen Press recently had concrete barriers — like the type you see in construction zones — installed around their perimeter to block any entrances and exits from the parking lots. The parking lots are part of the proposed ...

Fourth of July celebration in Burcham Park back for another year; Live on Mass concert series also to return to downtown

I know people who will put on a scuba suit, if needed, to set off their July 4 fireworks. Hopefully that won’t be necessary, but either way Lawrence is set to throw another Independence Day party down by the Kansas River. Mike Logan, the owner of The Granada and Abe & Jake’s, has signed up for a second year to organize the Lawrence Go Fourth celebration, which will be an evening party at Burcham Park ...

LMH begins process of looking for partners, but says it won't be selling the hospital; look for local online rankings of doctors

For a long time, Lawrence Memorial Hospital has been like Switzerland. (Calm down, this doesn’t involve chocolate, though it may require a trip to the ER if I keep playing with the Swiss Army knife.) Rather, LMH President and CEO Russ Johnson uses the analogy to explain the hospital’s strategy in dealing with other, often larger, health care companies. “We have never really aligned with or fought with ...

Plans filed for $13 million apartment, commercial building in Warehouse Arts District; Turnhalle building also set for renovation

A long-discussed multimillion-dollar apartment and commercial building for the Warehouse Arts District is again on the front burner. Developer Tony Krsnich confirmed his company this week received formal notice that it has been awarded $6.9 million in affordable housing tax credits for a project he’s calling Penn Street Lofts. As we’ve previously reported, Krsnich has long wanted to build a multistory ...