The Lawrence City Commission voted unanimously, 5-0, early Wednesday morning to uphold the Historic Resources Commission’s recommendation against the HUB, a six-story luxury student apartment complex proposed for downtown.
Several hundred people showed up to overflow the meeting room and dozens spoke to the commission about their opinions of the project, most of them negative. The discussion of the project lasted more than four hours, and the commission’s decision came at about 1 a.m.
By affirming the HRC recommendation, the Commission agreed that the project, proposed by Chicago-based developer Core Spaces for the corner of Massachusetts and 11th Streets, encroached on the historic value of the nearby Douglas County Courthouse, Watkins Museum and Old English Church. The commission also agreed that the project did not meet the Downtown Design Guidelines
The Commission’s vote on one of the most controversial proposals to come before it in years followed mostly negative comments from speakers concerned about the building’s size and mass, its impact on parking, Core’s poor reputation for similar projects around the country and the needs for additional student housing, especially downtown. Proponents of the project argued in favor of its potential impact on the downtown economy and the need to replace the long-vacant Allen Press buildings and parking lot at the site.