See the latest renderings for multimillion dollar Turnhalle renovation project; new mattress chain coming to town

photo by: Hernly Associates/City of Lawrence

A rendering showing the Turnhalle addition from the northeast corner of the site is shown.

News and notes from around town:

• It is hard to find a combo older than the idea of dinner and a show, and plans are moving ahead for that pairing to happen in one of Lawrence’s oldest buildings.

We’ve reported that plans have been filed for the Turnhalle building — the 1860s stone structure at 900 Rhode Island St. — to be converted into a restaurant and event venue. Recently, we’ve reported that the city, the county and the school district all have approved special tax rebates for the project, which will involve a significant amount of work to improve the old structure.

Now, a new set of detailed plans have been filed at Lawrence City Hall for the project. The concept of a restaurant in the basement and an event venue with stage and balcony on the main floor remain. So too does the idea of a new addition on the rear of the building, which will house modern bathrooms, a “green room” for performers and other improvements that will make the building more ADA friendly.

But the exterior design of that addition has changed some, as the National Park Service — which has reviewed the plans due to some of the historic components of the project — asked for some changes.

The Lawrence-based architecture firm Hernly Associates recently submitted new renderings to the city for review. The new renderings likely will mean the design will need to win another round of approvals from the city’s Historic Resources Commission.

The rendering above shows the proposed project from the northeast corner of the site. The front edge of that rendering shows the facades that would be facing Ninth Street. The rendering below, shows the project from the northwest corner of the site.

photo by: Hernly Associates/City of Lawrence

This rendering shows the proposed Turnhalle project at 900 Rhode Island Street from the northwest corner of the site.

The plans also show that the basement area will have a large open area for indoor dining, plus a bar area and a full kitchen with a grill area. Details about what type of restaurant will go in the building haven’t been announced.

Lawrence residents Zarif and Mamie Haque have purchased the 1869 building that is believed to be the oldest community building in Lawrence. As they have filed for a mix of financial incentives for the project, including tax rebates and special sales tax district, they have estimated they will spend more than $5 million to renovate the building. The project is expected to be completed in 2026, city officials have been told.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

Work on a Sleep Outfitters building, 3221 Iowa Street, was underway on March 11, 2023.

• There must be some market research that says once you get done shopping at Target, you are in the mood to buy a mattress. (I’ve certainly wanted to hide under the covers after signing the credit card receipt.) I don’t have details on the research, but I can report that a new mattress retailer is in the process of opening in one of the buildings next to Target.

Work is underway to open Sleep Outfitters in the building at 3221 Iowa St. You may remember that the mattress chain Sleep Number previously operated in the building next door. That mattress retailer — which was across the street from Mattress Firm — closed several months ago.

But that has not deterred Sleep Outfitters. Work appears to be nearing completion on the building. The company is a somewhat regional chain, having gotten started in West Virginia in 1983. It now has about 100 stores in Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Kansas, Missouri and West Virginia.

It looks like the Lawrence store will be just its second in Kansas, joining one in Olathe. It also has a few on Missouri side of the Kansas City metro. According to its website, the chain is a major retailer of Tempur-Pedic, Sealy, and Stearns & Foster brands of mattresses. According to the website, the store also sells a variety of pillows, sheets and other sleep accessories. It also says all sales associates are specifically trained in “all things sleep,” and are available to create a “personal sleep profile” for each customer based on a series of questions about various sleep habits, needs and issues.


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