Plans for a side-by-side bank and coffee shop filed for Sixth Street in west Lawrence; downtown pharmacy project still moving forward

photo by: Seven Brew Drive Thru Coffee

A Seven Brew Drive Thru Coffee location is shown from the company's website.

Let’s go through some news and notes from around town:

• I knew Lawrence was experiencing a boom of drive-thru coffee shops, but I didn’t realize it was such a money-making venture that a new coffee shop needs a bank right next to it. Or maybe it says something about coffee prices.

I’m not sure, but either way, plans definitely have been filed for a new bank building and a new chain, drive-thru coffee shop to be built side by side on Sixth Street.

Look for a new Capitol Federal bank branch and a new Seven Brew drive-thru to be built on vacant ground at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Folks Road. Plans call for about a 3,700-square-foot Capitol Federal bank building, with drive-thru lanes, to be constructed near the center of the vacant lot, and for about a 500-square-foot drive-thru coffee shop building to be located near the western edge of the property.

You may recall that Seven Brew Drive-Thru Coffee is an Arkansas-based chain that is expanding in the area. We reported in February that it had filed plans to build its first Lawrence location at 25th and Iowa streets, in the parking lot that is home to Planet Fitness, Office Depot, HuHot Mongolian Grill and others.

Like Scooters Coffee, which has multiple locations under construction in Lawrence, Seven Brew apparently believes more is better in the market. As reported back in February, the chain features a variety of hot and cold coffee-based drinks, and many of them would be suitable as a dessert offering too. The chain’s signature drink, called Smooth 7, features white chocolate and Irish cream, while other offerings include a cinnamon roll-themed drink and a German chocolate-themed one complete with coconut. Then there is something called the Triple 7. It is the shop’s Smooth 7 drink with the addition of six espresso shots.

As for Capitol Federal Savings, you surely are familiar with that company. The Topeka-based savings and loan bank is one of the largest banks in the region. Capitol Federal has a location right across Sixth Street from this vacant lot. But that bank is located in leased space. This new location will allow the bank to own its property.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

A vacant lot at Sixth and Folks Road is pictured on March 29, 2023. It is slated to house a new Capitol Federal bank branch and a Seven Brew Drive-Thru Coffee location.

It is not a surprise that Capitol Federal is landing on the spot. We reported in May that Capitol Federal had purchased the Sixth and Folks property from longtime Lawrence pharmacist Jeff Sigler. So, it was easy to see that the bank likely had plans to build a branch there.

But the idea of a coffee shop also locating there wasn’t known. It is not an entirely done deal that the coffee shop will locate on the site. The shop requires a key approval from City Hall. The current zoning designation doesn’t allow for a drive-thru restaurant, and the coffee shop is technically considered one. The coffee shop is allowable if the City Commission grants it a special use permit, which the development is now seeking.

Seemingly the project would have a good chance at the permit, given that a drive-thru Starbucks is located in the same overall commercial development just a block or so west on Sixth Street. The development plan also notes that Seven Brew is a fairly quiet drive-thru in that it does not use speakers to take orders from customers. Instead, an employee is sent to each vehicle to take orders.

• Speaking of drive-thrus, don’t look for a fast food one to develop in downtown anytime soon. Jeff Sigler — the pharmacist I mentioned above — floated the idea recently but didn’t get a good reception from City Hall leaders.

Sigler now owns an old Capitol Federal bank building at 11th and Vermont streets. As we reported in May, he took over that property when he sold his Sixth and Folks Road land to Capitol Federal.

Sigler got the old downtown bank building because he wants to open a downtown pharmacy. When I saw this latest Capitol Federal deal, it reminded me that I hadn’t heard much about the downtown pharmacy project in a while.

Sigler said the idea is very much alive, but he’s been looking for another user to fill about half of the building at 11th and Vermont. The building is about twice as large as he needs for the pharmacy operation.

Sigler told me he was in discussion with a food business that wanted to use the drive-thru. Sigler started talking with officials at City Hall about what approvals would be needed to make that project happen, but quickly found it was going to be very difficult.

“It is just not zoned for that, and it probably is a battle that we couldn’t win,” Sigler said.

So, he said that he’s now looking at other options for the space, but that he’s going to move forward with the pharmacy.

“We plan to have the pharmacy open by fall, regardless of what else we do,” Sigler said.

He said he has had some interest from entities that also are in the health care field about using a portion of the building, but said he doesn’t yet have a deal to announce.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

Sigler Pharmacy plans to open a new pharmacy in the former Capitol Federal Savings branch building at 11th and Vermont streets.


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