Category Archives: Real estate

WaterWalk consultant, city of Memphis in legal battle

Remember John Elkington, the Beale Street developer in Memphis who helped WaterWalk officials land a handful of commercial leases for the development early last year – leases that haven’t broken any ground?

It appears that Elkington’s signature project, Beale Street, has become a legal hot potato in Memphis, with the city suing Elkington’s Perfoma group and Elkington replying in kind.

Meanwhile, WaterWalk remains a stretch of barren ground, surrounding the lofts and office project, the Wichita Area Association of Realtors and Gander Mountain.

It’ll be interesting to see what direction new Wichita City Manager Bob Layton can help provide.

Be thankful for home price stability

A CNN article today makes it clear how fortunate homesellers in the Wichita area should feel.

While prices here remain basically stable, there are $500,000 homes in California changing hands for $200,000.

“EVVVVERY HOME MUSTTTT GOOOO! Bad credit, no problem. No down payment, no problem. No money, big problem.”

Was February the turning point?

Add new home sales to the list of improving February economic indicators, according to this report.

And durable goods orders, which also jumped in February – after a January that was worse than originally thought.

We’re standing by, awaiting the release of the February new and existing home sales numbers in Wichita.

Growth’s screeching halt in Overland Park

Overland Park, one of Kansas City’s fastest growing suburbs, has seen more than just a new housing slowdown, the Kansas City Star reports.

February ended without the issuance of a single new home permit, a stark contrast to the 1990s when about 1,100 were issued every month.

City officials blame the economy, which is a good bet, but I wonder if Overland Park just isn’t built out. Overbuilding is the biggest enemy of any housing market, and you wonder if the city won’t confront that soon.

Two names for Proposition K

It’s fascinating what you can find on Google.

Proposition K, the anti-tax proposal in Kansas to standardize property tax hikes at 2 percent, was the subject of a Google search today as I sought to learn more about it.

Imagine my surprise to find this Proposition K that went to the ballot last year in San Francisco.

Hmmmmmm. Anyway, here’s a good capsule on what Kansas’ Proposition K covers, and it’s not prostitution.

Let’s get a discussion going on Kansas’ version. Is this normalizing property taxes? Or is it a thinly-veiled attempt to shift property tax burdens off the affluent?

What do you think?

Wichita real estate hits USA Today

The tale of Wichita’s residential real estate market, one we’ve been telling for months, made the pages of USA Today Tuesday.

The national account is accurate: The market is relatively solid, with steady inventories of about four and a half months. Home values are appreciating, albeit slowly. Interest rates are low.

In fact, it is a good time to buy a house in Wichita. There’s money to be borrowed for homes, as long as you can handle some old-fashioned terms and you’re willing to bring some skin to the game. The no-money-down home loan is gone.

The problem is, it’s not such a great time to sell one. Buyers are skittish as layoffs gain steam around the area. Plus, the uncertainty and political wrangling around President Obama’s economic recovery plan don’t ease anyone’s concern.

Buyers and sellers both are on the sidelines, waiting for better days.

A third Jimmy John’s … I think

My plan was to craft a story for Saturday outlining the timeline for a third Jimmy John’s at 517 N. Hillside, near Wesley Medical Center.

However, after being stonewalled in Chicago, all I can tell you is that I THINK Bushwood Investments plans to open the third version of its popular sub shop. My colleague Denise Neil, knower of all things restaurant, tells me an April open date is what’s being bandied about.

Why so vague? A call to Bushwood’s corporate office Friday afternoon for details elicited a terse “We don’t give out that information,” followed by an admonition to submit all questions in writing.

I guess free publicity isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.

A quick look at median home prices

The National Association of Realtors has devised this interesting tool to reveal median home prices in a given metropolitan statistical area.

It’s updated monthly, so check in regularly to measure Wichita’s progress in this measuring stick against our nearby competitors.

Looking for a safe investment? Drink beer

The Web site Investment Pirate says beer might be better for your bottom line than many stocks you could have purchased in the past year.

For example, it says if you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Air Lines stock a year ago, you would have $49 left. And if you took the same $1,000 and bought beer, drank it and turned the aluminum cans in for a recycling refund? You would have $214 in cash.

Anyone else out there have any fun investment advice?

Report: Speculators drove up oil prices

Here’s a shock: A public/private report fingers speculators as the culprit for the run-up in oil prices.

Interestingly, oil’s only up about 75 cents a barrel as of this writing in the wake of OPEC’s 500,000-barrel production cut. And that’s even with Hurricane Ike bearing down on the oil production region of the Gulf.

Interesting, isn’t it?

No new Big Dog plant anytime soon

Back in 2005, Sheldon Coleman bought 106 acres at the K-96 and Greenwich Road interchange as a site for a future Big Dog Motorcycles plant if the company’s dramatic growth continued. Of course, that turned out to be Big Dog’s high point and the company has shrunk considerably since then.

On Friday, Coleman confirmed that he no longer plans to put a Big Dog factory out there, but was coy about what he would do with the land: “I’m pursuing other options.”

As to Big Dog, the company now has more capacity at its E. Douglas plant as its production slows. He said they continue to make it more efficient as well. I’m guessing it will be a long time before Big Dog leaves that location.

More on Todd Fox

A friendly reader who goes by “Fox Buster” forwards along this auto repair industry update on the status of Todd Fox, who closed his 18 Fox Collision repair shops almost a year ago.

In an update from the courthouse, Wichita attorney Ed Nazar remains on case for the time being, and the sale of the final Fox Wichita building on East Kellogg has closed.