WICHITA — Count Alltite founder Tom Smith as another businessman who is bucking the trend of leaving downtown for the east side.
Smith is planning to leave the east side for downtown.
He has a contract on a 14,000-square-foot building at 141 S. Rock Island near The Wichita Eagle.
“I thought it was a neat, up-and-coming location, and I wanted to move my business downtown,” Smith says.
Alltite sells industrial bolting equipment and services to heavy industrial plants, and Smith’s MobileCal is a mobile calibration lab he developed to service industrial equipment on site.
Smith currently leases 12,000 square feet at 37th and Woodlawn. About 3,000 square feet of that is office space, and the rest is warehouse space.
At the new building, the office space would double.
First, though, Smith needs to get the building on state and national historic registries in order to qualify for tax credits.
The building, which most recently was home to Acme Art Glass, was built around 1907 as a livery stable for the Union Station ice house.
Smith wants to do a historic renovation to the exterior of the building. The interior would be more modern.
“We’re kind of just investigating it right now,” he says.
He’s been working with the Wichita Downtown Development Corp. on the project.
“The city of Wichita and the downtown development group have been real great to work with,” Smith says.
Farha Construction will be the contractor.
“There’s a lot of things we have to get figured before it’s a done deal,” Smith says.
He should know something definite in a month, but Smith is ready for something to happen now.
“I wanted to own a building and have the building match the needs of the business as we’re growing like crazy. I’m looking at adding a bunch more employees.”