WICHITA — It’s customary for contractors to move from job to job, but lately Farha Construction has been moving from office to office, too.
“This is very unusual,” says Ted Farha.
In October, the company moved into the Lux, which is the former Protection One building at First and Market that Farha Construction is helping developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey convert into condos.
“It was good to be in there for a while,” Farha says. “There was a lot of investigative work to do there.”
This week, the company moved into another Eyster-Ramsey property at the former Woolf Brothers department store building at the southwest corner of Douglas and Market. The address used to be 111 S. Market, but they’ve changed it to 135 E. Douglas.
“Everybody knows where Douglas is,” Farha says. “Douglas is just the main artery … in downtown.”
Ramsey says the idea is “to breathe some life into that corner down there. Just having somebody in those buildings is going to help that area.”
Farha Construction is taking two floors of the four-story building.
“We have a lot of work in the neighborhood, and we have a lot more work to plan,” Farha says. “It’s very convenient to be within walking distance of multiple projects. Not that we don’t want to work in the suburbs.”
Ramsey and Eyster are working on plans for a grouping of buildings they want to redevelop near Douglas and Market.
That includes the former Woolf Brothers space, the former Board of Trade building at 120 S. Market, the former Merrill Lynch building at 100 S. Market, Kelly Donham’s former property on Douglas Avenue between Main and Market streets that became known for a giant hole in the ground and the Caldwell-Murdock building next to it.
As they move forward with plans for the buildings, Ramsey says Farha “can just continue to have his base of operations there.”
Preconstruction work is underway at the Lux, and Ramsey says the project will be in full construction mode within six weeks.
“That frees up the architect who is working on the (other buildings) to finalize plans there,” he says.
“It really forces our hand to continue to work diligently,” Ramsey says. “It’s our responsibility to continue with those plans that we have for that area.”
Farha says he doesn’t have plans to move again for a while.
He says it’s fun to be in the center of “all of the activity and the energy … that’s coming downtown.”