Monthly Archives: December 2010

Planning commission to consider expansion at future Chick-fil-A site

WICHITA — For those of you who are concerned that Chick-fil-A isn’t actually coming to Central and Rock, here’s proof that it’s in the works.

The owner of the property at the northwest corner of the intersection is working with the planning department to enlarge the parcel where a Presto gas station used to be. If approved, this will allow for a drive-through lane or lanes.

The item is coming before the planning commission on Jan. 6.

A Chick-fil-A representative has previously confirmed for Have You Heard? that the chain is coming to that corner, though it may not be until late 2011 or early 2012.

With this planning agenda item, perhaps it’s an indication that the deal may happen sooner rather than later.

Chick-fil-A fans can hope, anyway.

You don’t say

“Did you see all the snow in NYC? Those lucky guys.”

— A sign on East Central at the Slope, which sells discount lift tickets and ski gear and books ski lodgings

Former Fritz Co. Grille space sells

WICHITA — There’s more happening near K-96 and Webb Road than just the new Menards.

Investors also have purchased the former Fritz Co. Grille space, which has been empty since the restaurant closed in May 2007.

“They’re working with a prospect,” says Don Ablah of Classic Real Estate, who handled the deal for the buyers.

The prospect is another restaurant.

“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Ablah says.

When Fritz closed after less than two years in business, a real estate broker said he expected a new business would open there not long after the Menards deal closed.

Then, deals fell through for the Wisconsin-based home improvement chain to bring two stores to Wichita.

This year, the deals were back on, and Menards is under construction near K-96 and Webb and 37th North and Maize Road.

“We’re just thrilled that the bank was willing to hang in there during this time while Menards was under construction,” says Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate.

He handled the deal for First State Bank & Trust, which owned the Fritz building.

In 2008, the building was appraised at $1.78 million. In 2009, that was reduced to $1.1 million after the building sat empty.

“I just really feel like they got a great value,” Saville says of the buyers. “I feel like their timing is perfect with Menards opening in the next 60 to 90 days.”

We’ll keep you posted on a possible new tenant and the Menards opening date.

Expanded Hana Cafe to open Thursday

WICHITA — It’s a month later than she planned, but Eunice Kim is happy to say her newly expanded Hana Cafe in Old Town Square is opening Thursday.

The new portion of the restaurant opened Monday in the former Picture Framing & More space, but the previous Hana space has been under construction since then.

That part of the restaurant will close again briefly early next week to have its floors redone, but it should be back open quickly.

Kim doubled her space and has added sushi and sake bars.

Though she’s disappointed by construction delays, Kim is happy with how the new space turned out.

“It’s very nice.”

Martin & Churchill law office disbands

WICHITA — Thursday is Martin & Churchill’s last day in business.

The 60-year-old firm most recently has been in Wilson Estates Office Park near 21st and Rock.

Marvin Martin started the firm in 1951 and had various partners through the years, including Stan Churchill, who joined in 1963.

There have been six attorneys at the business most recently.

“The attorneys of Martin and Churchill have decided to move our practices to different law firms,” says attorney Don Hill. “We believe this was in the best interest of our clients, and we believe it was the right thing to do.”

Hill won’t elaborate, though he says it was a mutual decision.

“There is no dissension or disagreement among us,” he says. “This is all very amicable.”

Hill has joined Adams Jones.

Churchill will operate his practice, Churchill LLC, from his home.

Brad Murphree will have Murphree Law Office at 445 N. Waco.

Mike Kennalley is joining Stinson Morrison Hecker.

Jack Peggs is opening the Law Office of Jack Peggs at 111 S. Whittier.

Gary Jones, who worked for Martin & Churchill part time, will continue his Law Office of Gary Jones at 1919 N. Amidon.

Hill says Martin & Churchill has had a reputation for integrity and excellence during its decades in business.

“The individual attorneys will continue that in their new associations.”

Sephora beauty supply store is coming to Bradley Fair

WICHITA — Ladies, this one’s for you.

Sephora — the beauty supplier so many of you visit when traveling outside of Wichita — is coming to Bradley Fair.

Laham Development, the developer of Bradley Fair, says the store will open this spring between Jason’s Deli and Gymboree. This will fill the remainder of the Restoration Hardware space.

No one with Sephora, which has North American headquarters in San Francisco, could immediately be reached for comment.

The chain, which is known for its distinctive store designs, has a private label line of products in addition to more than 200 brands of other items.

Sephora offers skin and hair care products, bath and body products, makeup and fragrances.

The store will have a Sephora Beauty Studio, Scentsa, which is a kiosk where customers can easily search for fragrances, and a Beauty Insider rewards program.

Sephora is owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, a luxury goods group based in Paris.

Christi Royse of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal for Bradley Fair.

‘A lot of interest’ in the Zelman’s sale

WICHITA — The sale of the contents in the former Zelman’s building starts at 8 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and ends at 5 p.m. the first two days and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The sale will be conducted out of three areas on the corner of Douglas and St. Francis.

“We’ve had a lot of people . . . poking their heads in,” says Becky Leason of Becky’s Estate Sales. “There’s a lot of interest.”

Former Zelman’s building to be turned into mixed-use development, including retail, lofts and a restaurant

WICHITA — It turns out that, as predicted, the former Zelman’s building is soon going to be seeing a lot more activity than just an estate sale.

Earlier this month, Have You Heard? reported that there’s going to be an estate sale at the 15,000-square-foot building on the northeast corner of Douglas and St. Francis on Dec. 30, 31 and Jan. 1.

Now, lawyer David Moses has a contract to sell the building where his grandfather Sam Zelman’s namesake men’s clothing store was from the 1920s to 2006.

Two Wichita developers, who prefer to remain anonymous until the deal closes next month, plan a mixed-use development at the property.

That will include a couple of retail areas and a combination restaurant and bar on the ground floor and residential lofts on the top floor.

“It’s especially exciting because it’s local developers who share the vision that our family has had for years about downtown,” Moses says.

“The fact that the development will affect a lot of people, that’s exciting. It’s something we would have loved to have done ourselves.”

Moses says the timing wasn’t right for his family.

“Now is the time to develop the corner,” he says.

The city’s new master plan for downtown influenced the developers.

“What brought us to downtown was actually the changes the downtown project had initiated,” one of the developers says.

“It just looked like this was going to be a hotbed of activity. . . . We just want to be part of that.”

Read More »

Auto Masters Collision & Service Center to open new service center in Derby

WICHITA — Larry Greider is at it again.

This summer, the Auto Masters Collision & Service Center owner told Have You Heard? about plans to build a new service center on property he bought a decade ago at the northeast corner of 21st and Hoover.

Now, Greider has purchased the former Carstar facility at 945 N. K-15 in Derby and is moving his Derby service center there.

“Basically, the main reason we bought it was just to keep Auto Craft Collision Repair from going in there,” Greider says.

He heard his competitor was looking at the building and decided to act.

“I wouldn’t have done this deal here if it wasn’t for the fact that I just didn’t want a competitor to come in here and be right across from us,” Greider says. “It would hurt us worse than anything.”

His current Derby service center is behind the McDonald’s on K-15.

Greider likes the increased visibility the new shop will have.

“People living in Derby all these years didn’t realize there was a service center behind McDonald’s,” he says.

Even so, his business has almost tripled in the last two years.

Read More »

Phil Ruffin is looking for a new casino to buy

WICHITA — GamingToday.com last week reported that Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin may want to buy the adjacent Mirage hotel and casino.

The publication couldn’t reach Ruffin, but Have You Heard? did.

“We approached them, and they don’t have anything on the market,” Ruffin says of Mirage owner MGM International Resorts.

He wants the Mirage in part because of its proximity to his property.

“Well, it hooks onto my casino here,” he says. “They kind of go together.”

He also made an offer on the Beau Rivage hotel and casino in Biloxi, Miss., which MGM also owns.

Ruffin says he likes MGM’s properties — the company sold him Treasure Island in 2008 — but he’s not pursuing them any further for now.

“It’s hard to buy them when they’re not for sale,” he says. “And you never want to chase a deal. You’ll pay too much when you start.”

Still, Ruffin is interested in buying another casino, and he says he has the money to do it.

“We’re always interested in expansion,” he says. “We’re just going to bide our time.

“At some point, we will pick up another casino down the road.”

So how many is he legally allowed to own?

“As many as you can afford, you can have ’em.”