Archive for Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Realtor hopes to attract fast-food restaurant

June 28, 2006

Rumors about several more fast food restaurants are wafting through Tonganoxie.

But nobody's biting yet.

More specifically, the rumors are mentioning Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell, both franchises of the Yum Group planning to open in the Stonecreek subdivision directly east of Conoco and Gambino's restaurant.

A "For Sale" sign at the corner of Stonecreek Avenue and U.S. Highway 24-40 lists Realtor Steve Jones, of Coldwell Banker.

"I've been hearing that rumor for a month," Jones said last week of the possible restaurants locating in Tonganoxie. "As far as I know it's an unfounded rumor, but I don't know."

But, he said, the 1.2-acre corner lot is under contract -- to Big Chief Inc., with Lawrence developers John McGrew and Jake Coulter. The asking price was $600,000, Jones said. McGrew and Coulter also have a contract on an adjacent 2.5 acres.

"We're working on plans for a 14,800-square-foot strip center," Jones said, adding plans are tentative.

"These are purchases under contract," Jones said. "They haven't closed yet."

When contacted last week, McGrew confirmed he and Coulter have an option on the property. McGrew said he's optimistic about Tonganoxie's future -- and the community's need for more commercial development.

"We have no serious interest at this point," he said. "We hear rumors. I wish the rumors were true. We've made contact with some of the franchises to see if they like that corner. So far, nobody has said boo."

But McGrew, a longtime Lawrence commercial and residential developer, said he thinks it's logical the property would develop.

"Your growth rate is a lot higher than Lawrence and, so far, it seems your city is somewhat more supportive of development," he said.

McGrew said it's difficult to know when -- or if -- he'll get a response from any groups such as Yum, which handles franchises for KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's and A&W.

"I think it depends," he said. "It always depends on the community, it depends on the current market conditions. It depends on whether they're in the expansion mode of not. I would sure think Tonganoxie is poised for a good deal more growth. It looks like you need more commercial and industrial development, when that's possible."

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