Archive for Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Commercial center planned at FireTree

March 15, 2000

If Baldwin City native Ken Hayes has his way, there will be a large commercial center at FireTree Estates.

Hayes' company, Cornerstone Construction of Lawrence, will build a 30,000-square foot commercial center on the land just adjacent to U.S. Highway 56, if plans are approved. Hayes' initial meeting on the proposal was with the Planning Commission Tuesday night.

While Hayes is keeping quiet about the plans, he's plenty excited about the possibilities.

"What we're looking at is a large retail client as an 18,000-square-foot anchor of the center," said Hayes, declining to name the client. "We don't have signed leases yet.

"In the remainder of the area we're looking at a restaurant that's interested. The remainder will be smaller shops and a laundromat," he said.

Hayes, a 1984 graduate of Baldwin High School who later graduated from the University of Kansas and started the construction business, recently moved back to Baldwin. Seeing what was going on building-wise in Baldwin grabbed his attention.

"I got interested in what was going on at FireTree Estates and talked to Jerry Donnelly (the developer there)," said Hayes. "I'm real excited about it. We're going to hold onto this project. This isn't going to be built by outsiders. This is a home-town project. It's something that's important to me."

He doesn't know when construction will begin. It's in the hands of the city council.

"It all depends on approval by them," Hayes said. "Our target date is to be up and functional by January 2001."

Phase two of the project will be another 20,000-square feet, bringing the total to 50,000, and plans for it include an athletic club. Hayes said he would make more known about the project once he gets approvals and leases signed.

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