LAWRENCE — KU Endowment has retained an advisory firm to evaluate future development options for several KU Endowment-owned sites adjacent to the University of Kansas Lawrence campus, including the recreation fields known as the Shenk Sports Complex at the corner of Iowa Street and Clinton Parkway.
Brailsford & Dunlavey, a development advisory firm specializing in the higher education sector, will guide a planning and market review process to determine whether development opportunities exist that could benefit the university and the Lawrence community. A task force of KU Endowment trustees selected the advisory firm, with support from KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod.
In addition to the recreation fields site, other sites that are part of the review include:
- The area just west of the recreation fields on Clinton Parkway
- The parcel east of Iowa Street between Fire Station No. 5 and 21st Street
- Parcels at the corner of Bob Billings Parkway and Kasold Drive
The initial review and planning process is expected to take at least six months, and no timetable has been set for potential development on any of the parcels under consideration.
“As part of the effort to update KU’s master plan, we are starting a deliberate process to fully understand what our options might be on each of these sites,” said Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment. “The university has adequate space to accommodate future research and educational needs. So development might be a favorable option if it could provide an opportunity to generate additional financial support for KU as well as offer new amenities or services to the community.”
Projects could include retail, hospitality, entertainment, a research and business park, and various housing options. In consultation with university leadership, it was determined that student housing needs are being met on campus and additional student housing is not an anticipated need.
Development is not a given; Seuferling added that the evaluation process might determine that the best course of action is not to develop any of the sites.
Once the evaluation is complete, Brailsford & Dunlavey would assist KU Endowment in managing the process of selecting qualified developers. Any current uses on sites that are chosen for development would be relocated.
“Our goal is to decide on something that is the right fit for KU and for Lawrence — something that benefits the whole community and enhances what Lawrence already offers,” Seuferling said.
The planning process, set to begin later in December, will include site analyses and demand studies, financial modeling and concept development, and other activities that will lead to the issuing of requests for qualifications and requests for proposals should KU Endowment decide to move forward with any development.
The development study aligns with KU Endowment’s mission of providing support for KU. In fiscal 2019, KU Endowment provided $173.6 million to support the university.
KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.