Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mayor unsure of center’s tenants

Bernard updates business owners at luncheon

February 7, 2008

Don't ask Mayor Kenneth Bernard what's going into Lansing Towne Center.

"I cannot tell you what businesses are going in there, because we just don't know," Bernard told Lansing business representatives last week at the city's fourth annual Salads and Solutions.

About 80 people attended the city-sponsored luncheon at Lansing Community Center.

As he has at each of the past Salads and Solutions, Bernard updated the business representatives on projects taking place in and around the city. Commercial developments, including Towne Center, were among the topics.

Bernard said Towne Center, a sprawling commercial development that eventually will spread along the west side of Main Street from 4-H Road to Kay Street, was slated to be built in three phases. The first phase is in the area directly south of Mary Street. Phase II, he said, is north of Mary Street; Phase III is in the area just north of 4-H Road.

Heavy equipment has been moving dirt throughout the development for months, and Bernard said he thought work on Phase I should begin around April 1. He was noncommittal on what stores might be in that first phase.

"I wish I could be more open and tell you exactly what that is, but I just don't know," he said.

Other commercial developments in the city, Bernard said, were continuing to land tenants.

The Lansing Depot Shops, which are across Kansas Avenue from the fire station, are nearly filled, he said.

Ron Carlson, who developed the center, said Anytime Fitness, a 24-hour fitness center, would take up most of the Depot Shops' second floor. It is slated to open in the first quarter of the year.

Carlson said he was close to landing another tenant to take up the remainder of the center's ground floor but he still was waiting on paperwork before declaring it a done deal.

Developers are nearing an agreement with a tenant for the last vacant space in the first phase of Carriage Hills Plaza, at Main Street and Express Drive, Bernard said.

As for the other major, new development in Lansing, Eisenhower Crossing, Bernard said principals in that project had not kept the city updated on their progress. He joked with the audience that if anyone knew more about Eisenhower Crossing, they could update him.

As for city-sponsored projects, Bernard thanked those assembled for their patience during the recently completed Main Street System Enhancement project.

Mike Smith, city administrator, noted the city took in about $40,000 more in sales tax in 2007 than the previous year, even with the strain on business caused by the road construction.

"We owe that to the dedication of our merchants and their customers," Smith said.

Bernard also told the audience about progress on Community Park, which is being built west of the city on Gilman Road. Construction on the park's $2.2 million Phase I, which will include grading, roads and some soccer fields, is slated to begin April 1.

"We're getting it started," he said.

Bernard also noted the joint efforts of the city and Leavenworth County on projects, including upgrades to 147th Street, and between the city and school district, namely the extension of Bittersweet Drive from south of Lansing Middle School to the new Lansing Elementary School.

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