The Salvation Army plans to move service center to 23rd Street in October; working on deal to sell downtown property

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

The Salvation Army service center at 946 New Hampshire is pictured on Sept. 8, 2022.

The Salvation Army is moving its feeding and assistance center from its longtime home in downtown Lawrence to a larger location on 23rd Street, creating the possibility that the nonprofit will start providing more social services.

The move also creates the possibility that The Salvation Army’s current location — at the corner of 10th and New Hampshire streets — soon will become available for downtown redevelopment.

“This is a huge opportunity for the The Salvation Army in Lawrence,” Lt. Megan McClintock told the Journal-World. “There are a lot of opportunities that we haven’t been able to explore in Lawrence because of our building.”

The new location will be at 1202 E. 23rd St., which is a large building near the corner of 23rd Street and Silicon Avenue. For those of you in town for a number of years, you may remember it as the old Kantronics manufacturing and office building. Currently, it houses the Lawrence offices of KVC Kansas, a nonprofit that provides foster care management and other services for children.

The Salvation Army plans to begin operating in the new location on Oct. 3.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

The future home of The Salvation Army service center at 1202 E. 23rd Street is pictured on Sept. 8, 2022.

McClintock said the new building is significantly larger than The Salvation Army’s existing service center at 946 New Hampshire St. McClintock — who is based in Lawrence and is the co-leader of the local operations with her husband, Lt. Landon McClintock — said the new space also is set up much better to provide services to people in need.

“It has so much more usable space,” she said. “It is all on one floor, except for a small loft area. Our current building is up and down stairs and up and down stairs. It is kind of a nightmare.”

The existing building serves as the base of operations for The Salvation Army’s assistance programs in Lawrence. McClintock said there are a few primary programs The Salvation Army operates. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, The Salvation Army operates a mobile food truck that goes to homeless camps around the city, but also serves food outside the downtown building. On Tuesday and Thursday, the downtown building hosts a food pantry that is open to those in need. Throughout the week, staff of The Salvation Army meet with people by appointment to help them access various utility assistance and other similar programs, she said.

All those services will move to the 23rd Street location, McClintock said. But once The Salvation Army gets settled in the new location, she said it will conduct an analysis of its new space, and listen to community needs to determine if there are new services or programs that could be housed at the new location.

“We are open to whatever possibilities are needed in the community,” McClintock said, “but we also want to abide by any restrictions related to our zoning.”

Some of you may remember years ago when The Salvation Army operated an overnight homeless shelter at its downtown building. If The Salvation Army wanted to have such an operation at the 23rd Street location — to be clear, McClintock did not raise that issue specifically — the city would have to grant various approvals before such a project could advance.

However, it appears The Salvation Army will be able to move its existing operations into the 23rd Street space without any special City Hall approvals. McClintock said The Salvation Army has purchased the building, and the building’s existing zoning allowed for the type of services The Salvation Army will be offering in the immediate future.

McClintock said the existing location at 946 New Hampshire is scheduled to close on Sept. 26 to give the nonprofit time to move into the new space.

In the meantime, McClintock said the organization would be working with its clients to help them prepare for the move as well. She said it was important for the new location to be near the city’s bus routes. Two different city buses have stops roughly a block away from the new location. The city’s No. 5 bus line stops at the 23rd and Haskell intersection, which is just west of the new location. The city’s No. 15 bus route stops at the 23rd and Harper intersection, which is just east of the building. The Salvation Army has bus passes to provide to clients, McClintock said. In addition, the new location will have much more parking for guests. The downtown location has little off-street parking, while the new location is served by two parking lots.

She said the new location also should be more accessible for residents of Baldwin City and Eudora, which is a population The Salvation Army is interested in serving.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

The existing service center for The Salvation Army at 10th and New Hamsphire streets is pictured on the right on Sept. 8, 2022.

As for the future of the 946 New Hampshire property, McClintock confirmed The Salvation Army is in discussions to sell the property. She declined to comment further, citing a need to honor confidentiality clauses with a potential buyer.

The property is a prime development location. It is across the street from multistory residential buildings, is next door to the Lawrence Arts Center, and is just a block away from the Marriott Hotel at Ninth and New Hampshire.

The Salvation Army has worked on moving and selling the property in the past, but has never gotten this far in the process. In 2004, The Salvation Army received city approval to build a new shelter and service center on vacant land along the west side of Haskell between Lynn and Homewood streets. That project, however, never materialized.

On Thursday, McClintock said The Salvation Army intends to sell the property along Haskell Avenue, as it no longer has plans to develop there.

“The $4 million building that we planned to build there turned into $8 million with increasing construction costs,” she said. “This is going to be a much better route for us.”

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