WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

Heartland health center poised for major expansion on Sixth Street; longtime business plans to buy former events venue

Power tools and health care aren’t commonly paired together, unless doctors are trying to explain what they'll do to my arteries if I don’t cut down on the sweets. But I’ve got a story that legitimately pairs them today. One of Lawrence’s largest tool and equipment rental companies is leaving its longtime home to make way for a major expansion of a nonprofit health care provider. Heartland Community ...

Sales tax numbers fall at start of new year; a look at Lawrence's biggest industries in 2019

A new year has ended an old trend at Lawrence City Hall. The city released its first sales tax report of 2020, and it shows not only did sales tax collections fall for the month, but so too did the amount of special sales taxes the city collects from online sales. That online decline was the first in more than a year for Lawrence. The report detailed the amount of sales taxes the city received from the state ...

Another chicken chain closes shop in Lawrence, plus rumors of a new taco chain coming to town

Every time I’ve tried to figure out whether the chicken or the egg came first, I’ve never gotten past the research stage of a plate of scrambled eggs and a basket of chicken fingers. Now, it appears my research is going to be even more difficult. One of Lawrence’s relatively new chain chicken restaurants has closed. Zaxby’s hung a sign on the door of its lone Lawrence location at 4661 Bauer Farm Drive ...

Speculation grows that Payless Shoesource will open corporate office in west Lawrence with about 100 new jobs

Lawrence is set to feel the pain from one beleaguered retailer: Kmart, which is closing its Lawrence distribution center. But the city might get an employment boost from another long-struggling retailer that seems poised to make a major job announcement in Lawrence. The company may surprise you: Payless Shoesource. Two sources have confirmed to me that Payless has reached a deal to relocate virtually all of ...

East Hills Business Park manufacturer files for bankruptcy, plans to eliminate almost 100 Lawrence jobs

Just two years after an expansion project, a Lawrence manufacturing plant is set to close, costing nearly 100 people their jobs. API Americas announced in a federally required filing that it intends to close its manufacturing plant in the East Hills Business park within the next 60 days. The plant produces foils, films, holographic finishes and other such products that are used to create fancy packaging ...

Kmart to close Lawrence distribution center; more than 100 local jobs to be lost

Updated at 4:30 p.m. Thursday Kmart soon will close its large distribution center in Lawrence, eliminating more than 100 local jobs in the process, the Journal-World has learned. A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed that the beleaguered retailer has filed a WARN notice — a federal filing required when companies undertake mass layoffs — stating that the Kmart Distribution Center at 2400 ...

New coffee shop opens in North Lawrence; local CEO buys properties along N. Second Street

I’ve certainly known school administrators who like to have conversations. (Why were you late to school today? Who pulled that fire alarm? How did Ms. Beatty’s car end up on the roof?) But there is a former school administrator who loves even pleasant conversations, and she has opened a new coffee shop as a result. Former school administrator Kelli Huslig has opened Uplift Coffee Shop at 624 N. Second St., ...

Lawrence home prices continued to rise in 2019; number of local sales declined

Buying a home in Lawrence didn’t become any easier or cheaper in 2019, as the latest report shows home prices now have increased 26% since the middle of the decade. The number of homes sold in Lawrence last year dropped by about 2% compared to 2018 levels, while the median selling prices of homes increased by more than 4%, according to the year-end report from the Lawrence Board of Realtors. The slowdown ...

Detroit-style pizza, climbing gym among the new developments slated for downtown area; old Borders building sparks lawsuit

News and notes from around the downtown area: • I’ve got a garage full of vehicles from Detroit, and soon it seems that I could have a belly full of pizza that is inspired by the city too. Look for a new “Detroit-style” pizza restaurant to open on Ninth Street. Longtime Lawrence restaurant owner Brad Ziegler has confirmed that he’s opening the Big Mill in the spot at Ninth and Mississippi streets ...

Lawrence restaurants: 15 quirky, freaky and fun food finds

This Town Talk column appeared in the Jan. 22, 2020, edition of the Journal-World's Crave food supplement. More from that section, including interviews with Lawrence restaurateurs, can be found here. I’m definitely not a restaurant critic, and I’ve found it is dangerous to be a food critic. (The things that can be done with a turkey baster when you tell the chef the bird is a bit dry ...) But writing ...

Border Bandido to close this summer, ending 50 years of business in Lawrence

For 50 years, there has been a Border Bandido on the loose in Lawrence. I can attest because it has stolen at least three notches on my belt that I’ll never get back. Of course, I’m talking about the Mexican restaurant on 23rd Street. Soon, though, it will be just a memory. The restaurant’s owner has announced it will close this summer. Owner Mark Arndt has worked at the restaurant for the last 43 years ...

New numbers show it really was the Decade of the Apartment in Lawrence; apartment construction up by more than 1,000

People are still trying to figure out what to call this decade that just ended. It wasn’t exactly the teens, it wasn’t exactly roaring and, if you take a couple of Twitter accounts out of the equation, it wasn’t exactly dirty. While not catchy, new numbers show there certainly is one title Lawrence could adopt for the time period: The Decade of the Apartment. Your eyes did not deceive you. A lot of ...

Investor group seeks shake-up of Kansas' largest electric utility; Evergy hires adviser to review options

Evergy, Kansas’ largest electric utility, has hired a financial adviser to study the company’s future after a major investment group heavily criticized the utility and said it should be sold or reorganized. Elliott Management Corporation, a New York-based investment group that owns about 11 million shares of Evergy, released a letter Tuesday calling for Evergy to either be merged with a more competent ...

A Canadian pub is coming to downtown, and it is bringing its cheese curds and gravy

A little bit of Canada is coming to downtown Lawrence. Actually, it sounds like a big Canadian is coming to the downtown scene. A Canadian-based pub called Moose McGuire’s has signed a deal to locate along Massachusetts Street, and the guy they call Moose is coming with it. “It was a nickname I had growing up,” said Dan Butler. “I’m a bit of a bigger guy.” (Yeah, I don’t know the story behind the ...

West Lawrence's Bauer Farm development nearly full as plans filed for new paint store

Plans have been filed to fill one of the last remaining retail lots in the Bauer Farm shopping center near Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. But don’t look for the vacant lot across the street from Theatre Lawrence to be another entertainment or food destination. Instead, plans call for a retail paint store to locate on the site. (Perfect. I’m too tired to paint the town red after a night at the theater, but ...

LMH expects gains if Medicaid expansion is approved, but warns it will take effort to get people to sign up

It may involve trading some pennies for dollars, but LMH Health leaders are confident Medicaid expansion in Kansas will add several million dollars to the hospital’s finances — if state lawmakers ultimately approve the expansion plan. As part of the proposal crafted by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, hospitals will pay a “surcharge” to the state for ...

Tractor Supply Co. set to get a neighbor; eastside bar closes

It can be lonely on a tractor. (Ask my prom date. No one was there to roll out the red carpet for us.) The folks at Tractor Supply Co. on the far east edge of Lawrence understand that lonely feeling. The store was built in 2010 near 23rd Street and O’Connell Road, and it was presumed that more retail development would follow. Now, construction has started on the lot next door, but it is not an exciting new ...

Lawrence-based real estate firm to renovate old retail building, move its headquarters

A 40-year-old retail building will get a major overhaul as it prepares to become the headquarters for a Lawrence real estate agency that has been in town even longer. Plans have been filed for a complete renovation of the Stone Meadows Square shopping center at Sixth Street and Lawrence Avenue, and leaders with Stephens Real Estate have confirmed their company will be moving into the center later this year. ...

Sales tax figures show city ends the year with a surplus; Lawrence City Commission may discuss using it to fund homeless shelter

It was a good — but not great — year for Lawrence sales tax collections, the year-end numbers from the state show. Now, the question is: Was it good enough that the City of Lawrence will give some extra funding to the community’s homeless shelter? After receiving its December sales tax check from the state, the figures show Lawrence received about $400,000 more in sales and use tax collections in 2019 ...