New health care building to be constructed near west Lawrence Walmart, plus other news and notes from around town

photo by: Courtesy: Block & Company

Plans call for about a 9,000-square-foot building to be constructed near the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Congressional Drive in west Lawrence. Kansas City-based Block & Company says a dentist's office has signed to take about 5,000 square feet of the building.

Look for construction to begin soon on a new building near the Walmart in west Lawrence. While that area has attracted a host of new restaurants — Old Chicago, Spin Pizza and Blue Moose, among others — this project is on the other side of the street, where they must be a little more practical.

A dentist’s office will be the main tenant of this new building. The Kansas City-based real estate firm Block & Company announced it has secured a deal for a 9,000-square-foot building to be constructed at the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Congressional Drive. If you are having a hard time picturing the location, it is kitty-corner from the Walmart store, and the site currently is a vacant lot adjacent to Prairie Commons Apartments.

Shawn Stuckey, an agent with Block & Company, said a local dentist who currently works for another practice has signed on to be the anchor tenant of the new building.

“It is somebody who wants to start off on his own,” said Stuckey, who said he wasn’t authorized to release the name of the dentist.

Stuckey said the site was chosen because of the amount of growth in the northwest area of town. Additional housing and apartment developments are attractive for a dentist’s office, and even Rock Chalk Park just down the road is a plus. (That makes sense. I’m always worried about chipping my tooth on the rim during a pickup basketball game.) Actually, the LMH outpatient center under construction next to Rock Chalk Park may be a bigger driver. The approximately $100 million facility is going to have a lot of health care traffic going up and down West Sixth Street. This may not be the last medical building we see constructed on the corridor.

The dentist’s office will take about 5,000 square feet of the building. The remaining 4,000 square feet will be marketed to other medical users, Stuckey said, but the development is open to other service businesses. That could be anything from an insurance office to a hair salon.

Don’t expect, however, a restaurant. The site isn’t zoned for that use, and Stuckey thinks there will be plenty of demand for the space from service-oriented businesses.

Construction work should begin soon. Plans call for the building to open in early 2020. A group led by Lawrence businessman Bryan Sanders — who owns the multitenant retail building that houses Burgers by Biggs and others at Sixth and Wakarusa — is developing the building.

Other news and notes:

• On the restaurant front, you may see some construction work soon at one of the prime areas trying to draw new restaurants to town — the former locations of Longhorn Steakhouse and On the Border Mexican restaurant.

But the construction won’t be a sign that a pair of new restaurants has signed up for the development near 31st and Iowa. Instead, plans have been filed with the city to cut down about 20 trees along the border of the shopping development. Plans call for new trees to be planted in roughly the same location. The development group said in a filing with City Hall that the existing trees had been improperly pruned in the past and had created a tree canopy that isn’t desirable. It wants to start over on the landscaping plan to create a better look and make maintenance for future tenants easier. No word on what restaurants are considering moving into that high-traffic location. But the fact that the development group is spending some money on the property is probably a positive sign.

• Speaking of landscaping, one Lawrence landscaping company has filed plans to expand its business. Greentouch Lawn and Tree has filed plans with City Hall to build a new 4,100-square-foot building on the back part of their property at 508 Michigan St.

The property already has the necessary commercial zoning in place for the new building. It needs site plan approval, which also will include several landscaping and green space improvements to the site.

Jesson Ross with Greentouch told me the main purpose of the project was to build a new shop building that can house much of the business’ trucks and equipment inside. The company has its main offices in Topeka, but Ross is a Lawrence resident and is looking to grow the Lawrence operations, he said.

Ross said he hoped to have the new building constructed by the end of the year.


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