Parking Option Secured for Turnhalle
After a year of negotiations, LPA is set to close on the purchase of the 32-space parking lot that sits directly across E. 9th street from Turnhalle and is currently owned by U.S. Bank. Combined with our purchase of 904 Rhode Island, LPA now controls the properties on either side of Turnhalle, both of which were facing uncertain futures until LPA stepped in.
Our goal is to encourage the rehabilitation of the now-vacant Turnhalle, which LPA saved with a major stabilization project while it owned the historic structure from 2012 to 2014. The parking lot is a critical part of that plan, and LPA has entered into a lease with an option to buy for the parking lot with Tony Krsnich, the owner of the Turnhalle.
The most likely path forward for the Turnhalle is some type of mixed-use plan combining retail, gallery and gathering space. For major rehabilitation and reuse to occur at the Turnhalle, parking is a necessary component. Dedicated parking spaces commensurate with the activities proposed will be required to gain site plan approval.
When LPA owned the Turnhalle, U.S. Bank was using the lot as parking for its employees. In December 2016, LPA was advised that the bank’s employees had shifted to the city parking garage, leaving the parking lot vacant. LPA decided to act out of concern that a development group with no interest in Turnhalle could purchase the lot and build on it.
We believe that Brad Burnside, president of the bank’s local branch at 9th and Massachusetts, along with key members of his staff, expressed their strong support for our proposal to the corporate hierarchy in Minnesota. Ours was not the only offer considered. If the Lawrence Turnhalle can be returned to community use as a functioning and treasured building, the actions of the local bank staff in support of LPA will be a big reason why.
Tony Krsnich’s lease payments on the parking lot will cover LPA’s holding costs. The purchase option can only be triggered after both a substantial rehabilitation has been completed and an occupancy permit for both levels of Turnhalle is attained. LPA would then sell the lot for the same price for which it is purchasing it. Eight wonderful LPA members have stepped up with two-year loans at below-market rate to finance the transaction.
LPA has proactively developed and executed a comprehensive strategy to leverage a rehabilitation of Turnhalle. This is the second time LPA has thrown virtually everything we possibly could at saving Turnhalle. The first time we knew we had bought the structure some time and hoped that things would work out. This time, we are providing a creative path that encourages its eventual rehabilitation.
Read the Lawrence Journal-World story: Nonprofit Buys Downtown Parking Lot In Hopes of Helping Historic Building