Developer hopes popular project sparks east Lawrence renaissance

The Poehler loft apartment project in east Lawrence boasts a putting green for its tenants. The building, which will have an open house Friday, is fully leased already and has a waiting list that’s about 70 people long.

The Poehler loft apartment project in east Lawrence boasts a putting green for its tenants. The building, which will have an open house Friday, is fully leased already and has a waiting list that’s about 70 people long.

Developer Tony Krsnich was pretty confident he was on to something last year when he started converting the 1904 Poehler Grocery Warehouse in east Lawrence into a 49-unit apartment building.

Late last month, when he officially opened the building for tenants to start signing leases, he was sure of it.

“We leased the whole building in 12 hours,” Krsnich said. “And we have a waiting list of about 70 people.”

Now, Krsnich hopes to show the rest of the community what he thinks is the beginning of a renaissance for an old east Lawrence warehouse district.

Krsnich has scheduled an open house and ribbon cutting for his $9 million Poehler Loft Apartment project for 5 p.m. Friday at 619 E. Eighth St.

“I hope we have a thousand people show up for the open house, and I hope hundreds of them come up to me with ideas about how we can do even more in this area,” Krsnich said.

He also hopes people will take time to notice the apartments. The project is an unusual one for Lawrence because the bulk of the 49 apartments are rent-controlled by the state, a requirement for the project to access state tax credits that were used to finance construction.

The result is that brand new one-bedroom apartments start at $425 per month, while two-bedrooms start at $650 per month. Most tenants do have to meet some income guidelines to live at the complex.

“Some of these units would have a market rent rate of nearly $2,000 a month, and I promise you won’t notice a difference in quality between these and those,” said Krsnich, who previously gained recognition for converting the rundown Chatham Hotel building in Kansas City, Mo., into a senior apartment complex.

Visitors to the Poehler building will notice it has a different feel from most other apartment buildings in the city. Three of the four floors of the building have ceilings that expose the huge, wooden timbers used in early 20th century construction. Brick walls also are left exposed, and Krsnich has kept many unique features — like the large built-in safe — that were used when the building served as one of the larger grocery warehouses in the state.

Krsnich said the historical elements of the building have been a factor in attracting strong interest from renters but not the only factor.

“I think people really like that there is a creative culture over here,” said Krsnich, who estimated the average age of tenants in the building was 30 and that artist and musician were the most common professions.

Future developments are expected to center on making the area an arts district. Krsnich already has begun to brand the area near Eighth and Pennsylvania streets as the Warehouse Arts District.

Krsnich and his investors have begun work to convert the late 1800s-era Ciderworks Building, 812 Pa., into an art gallery and event space. In addition, about a dozen artists have set up studios in an adjacent warehouse building just south of Eighth and Pennsylvania streets.

“We believe we’ll have the same type of success with the arts and event space as we have had with the apartments,” Krsnich said. “We’ve already booked several weddings for 2013 in the cider building. They’ve all been KU alums from Kansas City who have been looking for a cool venue in Lawrence.”

The success of the apartments, though, also has Krsnich looking at options to build a new apartment development near the Eighth and Pennsylvania intersection. Krsnich already owns the vacant lot at the southwest corner of the intersection, but he said he’s also exploring options for property that is farther south of the intersection.

Friday’s open house is scheduled to include a ribbon cutting and remarks from various local and state officials from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The city provided $1.39 million worth of public infrastructure improvements and other incentives to assist the Poehler project.

The event also will feature five separate art shows in buildings near the Eighth and Pennsylvania intersection.


Eugehne Normandin 5 years, 10 months ago

How about affordable housing for mechanics plumbers carpenters nurses teachers and etc.

Enlightenment 5 years, 10 months ago

Swampyankee, if you really do want to find affordable housing under the same program, here is a link that provides the lists of projects that have received low income housing tax credits in KS.

While on the site, educate yourself about affordable housing.

d_prowess 5 years, 10 months ago

I must have missed the part of the article that said how the building was not for mechanics, plumbers, carpenters, etc... I am guessing that it just happens that most of the folks that signed a lease in those first 12 hours were artists. You snooze, you lose I guess.

woodscolt 5 years, 10 months ago

I think this was rented on first come first serve basis of qualified applicants. That would include anyone, well, who qualified. Given that the developer stated there were more musicians and artists doesn't exclude the vocations of other renters whatever that may be.

asixbury 5 years, 10 months ago

Artists and musicians don't work? Just because they're self-employed and do non-traditional jobs, do not mean they don't work. Every professional artist and musician I know, that make their living off their art, work harder than anyone I know with a more traditional 9-5 job. They have to, or they wouldn't make a living off of their trade. You obviously have no idea what you're talking about. I am an artist. I don't make a living off of my art, instead have an office job, because it takes so much time and discipline to do it. I like only working 40 hrs a week. If I were to become a full-time artist, my hours would be more like 60-80. I know, I have been there, done that, and got exhausted.

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

Always a pleasure to see comments that demonstrate exactly zero knowledge of what's being talked about. "Handouts" has nothing to do with affordable housing, nor does having an income at a particular level have anything to do with not wanting to work.

Given that the comment lacks any coherence / relationship to a) the topic of the story, b) affordable housing, and c) actual reality, what's the real intent of this comment?

woodscolt 5 years, 10 months ago

Generally that means the comment was made by a troll who would enjoy all the remarks its comment generates while having little or any deference to the articles content. Nevertheless, it is not a viable contribution to the discussion.

asixbury 5 years, 9 months ago

You said they're giving handouts to those who don't work. What handouts? Rent-control so lower-income people can afford a nice place? Explain the handouts to this issue. These people are paying rent, although it is lower than what these nice apartments would normally get. That isn't a handout.

asixbury 5 years, 10 months ago

Wow, if that wasn't judgmental and full of logical infallacies, I don't know what is. Jealous, maybe?

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

Given the economy, what's your problem with people who can only afford $450 a month?

This comment appears to be making woefully unfounded assumptions about citizens who can only afford a certain amount of rent.

What's with the useless class discrimination?

woodscolt 5 years, 10 months ago

notwhatyouthink canthinkatall just can't handle success of this project. Give it a year and you will see a years worth of success eat your heart out buddy.

woodscolt 5 years, 10 months ago

Maybe Krysnich can find a building to convert for crotchety old curmudgeons.

Linda Kucza 5 years, 10 months ago

I live in East Lawrence and am excited to see how this all works out. I have high hopes for our wonderful part of town...let's see some positive thinking and hopefulness here. A lot of people are involved, and have been involved for years, in making our neighborhood the fabulous place to live that it is! I will be at the open house as another creative idea shows up in East Lawrence.

ErinElizabeth 5 years, 10 months ago

It's also home to a lot of servers, bartenders and service industry folks. You have to meet income guidelines -- not have no income. Lawrence is a challenging place to find affordable, safe housing. When I lived in KC I had a lot of friends who lived in housing with similar guidelines who were all social workers. Contrary to popular belief, working hard does not equal having lots of money. Having been all of the aforementioned people I can attest to an understanding of hard work. Affordable rent is not a "hand out." I LOVE LFK, but if there is anything I can't stand about it, it's the comments on ljworld.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 10 months ago

I hope this place does not become the Lawrence version of Cabrini Green (Chicago).

"Rent controlled by the state" means it will be a drag on our economy. Guaranteed.

Enlightenment 5 years, 10 months ago

There is no chance this project can be the Lawrence version of Cabrini Green or the Pruitt-Igoe (St. Louis). Rent controlled does not mean it will be a drag on the economy. Please educate yourself about low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) and you will see how this program differs from Cabrini and Pruitt-Igoe, which were government subsidized projects (public housing with rents on a sliding scale). I am very knowledgeable on the subject and would be happy to share information, just ask.

Here is a link briefly describing LIHTCs (which were used to fund the Poehler development.

George_Braziller 5 years, 10 months ago

East Lawrence is an actual neighborhood that functions as a neighborhood. It's more like a separate small town, much like North Lawrence. It isn't a problem of "what's next door," it's a problem of what people who don't live here THINK it is. The attitude has been prevalent for decades.

irvan moore 5 years, 10 months ago

it's a great project, to bad local developers didn't see the value in affordable housing in the downtown area

booyalab 5 years, 10 months ago

Man, I hope I don't have to rely on rent-controlled housing when I'm 30.

Alceste 5 years, 10 months ago

swampyankee opines: "How about affordable housing for mechanics plumbers carpenters nurses teachers and etc."

The Poehler building is open to "...mechanics plumbers carpenters nurses teachers and etc. provided they meet the income guidelines which are mandaged under the Section 42 housing that was the meat and potatoes behind this project.

I doubt, however than many of these trades people qualify.....with $165.00 service calls (BEFORE any work is done) by plumbers; with auto mechanices making $65@hour; Rn level nurses making as much; teachers making as much, etc., they simply don't fit the definition as set up by Uncle Sam and this Section 42 housing. Truth be told, they're pretty well off......

Why don't you spend some time and educate yourself about Section 42 housing? Here's a link for you to read: is a link to the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation which is the state of Kansas contact point for Section 42 housing....both discovery and development. is a link with a lot more details. Give it some time to load.

You're welcome to make application to live at Poehler....or are you simply an "aginner" and now are caught with your pants down????

Each County in Kansas has a slightly different formula as to what your maximum income can be....but for right now I do believe the max income cap for Douglas County for just one person is $30,060.

Enlightenment 5 years, 10 months ago

And might I add that the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program is the most successful program in the US that creates affordable housing.

booyalab 5 years, 10 months ago

Btw, "affordable housing" is code for "crap, apparently our high tax rates and inhospitable business climate is catching up to us....I know, let's pretend that it's the fault of developers!"

ezbreezy 5 years, 10 months ago

I love East Lawrence, I think it's very trendy and apparently I'm not the only one who sees potential in that area! I'm very happy to read that the contractor has left the historic old world charm (wood beams, built-in safe) in the building. It sounds like he has great intentions and has made it very affordable. Thank you for contributing to making Lawrence a beautiful place to live!

Alceste 5 years, 10 months ago

oneeye_wilbur: YES, there are about 9 of the units being rented at market rates. Maybe 8. I forget. Call 'em up and ask 'em....

Alceste 5 years, 10 months ago

swampyankee earlier wrote:

"How about affordable housing for mechanics plumbers carpenters nurses teachers and etc."

Gee, swampyankee.....too much egg on your face to make a post now that you're educated about this wonderful program? Have you placed your name on the waiting list? Encouraged others to do same?

Or, again, are you just one of those "aginners"?? Strikes Alceste that perhaps you're part of the top 10% of American income heck with the 1%......10% and above need to be taxed and taxed and taxed and taxed until they understand what it's like living on $13,000.00 per annum for one person.....which is fairly "middle class" by some dopes opinions.


Alceste 5 years, 10 months ago

woodscolt earlier posted:

"Maybe Krysnich can find a building to convert for crotchety old curmudgeons."

There is nothing....not one thing....stoping "....crotchety old curmudgeons...." from living in this building. Simply fill out the paper work and if you're income eligible and a unit is available, in you go....

Commenting has been disabled for this item.