Robert Eyster purchases the Board of Trade building and plans another renovation

WICHITA — The Board of Trade building at 120 S. Market is the latest acquisition for nascent downtown developer Robert Eyster.

“He’s planning on doing a complete remodel with it,” says Michael Ramsey, who is working with Eyster on several downtown projects.

They’re renovating and repurposing the Zelman building and the Victoria Park Apartments. They’ve also recently acquired property along Douglas Avenue between Main and Market streets where developer Kelly Donham previously had plans.

The Board of Trade renovation will be in conjunction with plans Eyster and Ramsey have for the Douglas property.

Ramsey won’t share all the details yet, but he says, “It’s following the Goody Clancy plan of changes they feel should be happening downtown.”

Part of Ramsey’s hesitation to talk just yet is due to potential city involvement.

“We’re really trying to work with the city through the project.”

The 62,910-square-foot Board of Trade building, which was built in 1920, has been vacant for a couple of years.

Eyster acquired it for $750,000.

“He’s always invested, but he’s always invested outside of Wichita,” Ramsey says.

That changed when he started searching for a new site for his Linkhaus restaurant concept.

Eyster and Ramsey met Jeff Fluhr, president of the Wichita Downtown Development Corp., and began discussing downtown opportunities.

The seven-story Board of Trade building features a former trading room that has three rooftop skylights that were designed to allow natural light for grading grain products during trading.

There are also numerous windows on the seventh floor overlooking downtown.

Ramsey says they’ll share plans, including renderings of the Market Street and Douglas Avenue projects, within a month.

“The completion date of the entire project . . . should be in about two years.”