Daily Archives: May 19, 2010

Wichita Independent Business Association most likely will sell its headquarters

WICHITA — The Wichita Independent Business Association unveiled it’s almost 8,000-square-foot approximately $1.2 million building at 445 N. Waco four years ago.

Now, due to the economy, the board this week has decided to sell it.

“There’s a process going on,” says president Tim Witsman. “It’s not complete.”

WIBA has had an offer on the building. Witsman won’t disclose the potential buyer.

“There’s some people that are very prideful about the building, and that’s understandable,” Witsman says. “But I think the general view is, no, the important thing is what we do.

“We don’t want to get in the position where we’re cutting the things we provide,” he says. “By doing this, we ensure we don’t have to do that.”

WIBA is a nonprofit, but it also has the for-profit WIBA Insurance Services, and business is down.

“There are people who feel passionately that they would prefer to wait and see . . . a better economy,” Witsman says.

“The board’s real determination is we’re going to protect our reserves,” he says. “The building was simply too great of cost for the kind of incomes we had. It doesn’t work in this new environment.”

WIBA most likely would not lease back space from the potential new owner.

Witsman says WIBA will be at the building for at least several more months.

“I just don’t know after that.”

Michael Monteferrante to become CEO of Texas-based Future Food

mmf2WICHITA — Seven years after coming to Wichita to lead Optima Bus, Michael Monteferrante is leaving to work for the same company that used to own Optima.

American Capital has hired Monteferrante to be CEO of Future Food in Carrollton, Texas.

“It’s pretty interesting,” Monteferrante says of his career path. “From subway cars to locomotives to buses to real estate to food.”

Monteferrante was with Optima until American Capital sold it in 2006. He then joined Occidental Management as CEO.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” says Occidental chairman Gary Oborny.

He expected this to happen, though.

“Just because of his . . . business experience it would be difficult to keep him in Wichita very long,” Oborny says. “Not a lot of companies can compete with those larger national companies when they come calling. You can’t match what they offer.”

Future Foods has two major brands: Santa Barbara Bay, which includes spreads and dips, and Salads of the Sea, which has things like “krab” dip.

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Panda Express to open at One Kellogg Place

WICHITA — Panda Express has chosen One Kellogg Place on East Kellogg where Wal-Mart is for its first Wichita site.

Last year, Have You Heard? reported the California-based chain of more than 1,300 restaurants wanted to come to the Wichita area.

The first Panda will be in a freestanding 2,449-square-foot building with a drive-through between Pizza Hut and IHOP.

It will be ready in the fall.

“We just like the energy that surrounds that area,” says Susan Flesher, Panda’s real estate manager.

She specifically points to the nearby traffic and daytime population.

“We just felt like that was a good first site.”

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Cleary, Wagle, Soderberg and West, a new group of attorneys, to lease Landmark Commercial Real Estate building space

WICHITA — A new lease at the Landmark Commercial Real Estate building at First and Emporia will bring the building to 100 percent occupancy.

Landmark and 1Point LLC have 7,920 square feet of the Old Town space, which Landmark renovated and moved into in 2007.

A new group of independent lawyers are forming an entity — not a law firm — to share the remaining 3,912 square feet on the building’s first floor.

The new group is Cleary, Wagle, Soderberg and West, which includes Mike Cleary, Karen Barry West, Jennifer Wagle, Ann Gottberg Soderberg and Stephen Turley.

Floodman, Wagle and West has been sharing space at 323 N. Market for more than four years.

With the new entity, West says the group needs more room. She says there are a lot of things they like about the Landmark building, including that the group will be easily accessible on the first floor with plenty of parking not far from courthouses.

“We need to be able to get in the car and go, and so that was very appealing,” West says.

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