Daily Archives: July 25, 2012

You don’t say

“I’m ready for (an) ice storm.”

College Hill Deli owner Ali Yassine on how he’s had it with the heat this summer

Whole Foods Market to open in Wichita at the new Waterfront Plaza

UPDATED — A new phase of the Waterfront development will be the home of Whole Foods Market when it arrives in Wichita next year.

“It’s very big for us,” said Stephen Clark II, who is managing the project, of landing the organic and natural food chain.

“It could be beneficial for the whole market,” Clark said. He said retailers such as Whole Foods Market and the new Cabela’s that entered the market earlier this year attract other big names.

“The more of that you can get, the more interest there is from others.”

Clark’s father, Steve Clark, and fellow Waterfront developer Johnny Stevens are building a new 70,000-square-foot retail center called Waterfront Plaza on the northwest corner of 13th and Webb Road, which Stephen Clark says is part of the larger Waterfront development on the northeast corner.

Whole Foods will anchor the development with a 30,000-square-foot store that Clark said will open in November 2013.

“We just feel that it’s really going to pair well with the community,” said Ben Friedland, executive marketing coordinator of the Rocky Mountain region for Whole Foods Market.

“One of the things that we’re most excited about is we’re a very decentralized organization, which allows us to build stores that are very specific to the communities in which they live,” he said. He said the chain partners with local producers who meet Whole Foods Market standards to sell their items so the store is “going to be endemic to the community, and it’s going to take on its local flair and its local flavor.”

“We’re just really excited about the abundance of local products available.”

Friedland said the Austin-based chain, which has 325 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, has been looking at Wichita for a couple of years.

“It’s another feather in the cap of Wichita for bringing the big names that wouldn’t touch us two to five years ago,” said Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate. “It’s the domino effect. You bring one or two here, and the rest think, geez, maybe we should be here.”

Piros is handling leasing at the remaining 40,000 square feet at Waterfront Plaza in addition to retail and office leasing within the larger Waterfront area east of Webb Road. That includes a new 4.3 acre area under development north of Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar where two new office buildings are slated to be under construction soon.

Piros said he’s close on a few potential Waterfront Plaza tenants. Clark said landing Whole Foods helps.

“People want to be next to Whole Foods, and we expect a lot more activity out there.”

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New bakery and deli to open on North Broadway in former Pizza Hut space

WICHITA — It looks like the former owners of Kim Huong are opening a new business near where their pho restaurant used to be.

No one with the business could be reached for comment, but there’s now a sign on the former Pizza Hut building next to Little Saigon near 10th Street and North Broadway.

One sign at a drive-through for the business advertises banh mi, which is a Vietnamese sandwich, and other sandwiches as well as something called kimlan.

Other signs at the business advertise a bakery and deli.

It’s not clear when the business will open.

Taco Tinga to open in former Dolci & Joe’s

WICHITA — Diners soon will once again be able to find tacos at 3425 East Douglas.

That was Taco Tico’s home years ago before Breezy’s and then Dolci & Joe’s opened there.

Now, Angel Varela and M.M. Karim are opening Taco Tinga there.

Varela used to own the La Hacienda grocery at 31st and Hillside and the La Picosa restaurant within it.

His new restaurant will be similar to a Chipotle Mexican Grill in that customers will walk in and select ingredients from a counter featuring various fillings for tacos, burritos, sandwiches and quesadillas.

Unlike Chipotle, there will be some ready-made items as well, such as chili rellenos and enchiladas.

Initially, Taco Tinga will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Later, breakfast will be available, too.

The restaurant opens Aug. 1.

Two Wichita Learning Connection centers to open to help former students get diplomas

WICHITA — The South Central Kansas Education Service Center is opening two new sites in Wichita.

“What we do is we try to provide … cost-effective ways to provide education services to school districts,” says executive director Brad Pepper.

The south-central branch, which is based in Clearwater, serves 28 school districts and is one of seven education service centers in Kansas.

The center provides services such as integrating technology in classrooms, helping further professional development and arranging for reduced-rate equipment.

“Basically, if there’s a need that a school district has, we’ll provide that service,” Pepper says.

“They’re school districts without students,” is how he describes the centers.

At least that’s generally the case.

The two new Wichita sites will be part of a network of Wichita Learning Connection centers around the state that offer degree completion programs.

Pepper says the center partners with local school districts to help former students age 18 and older receive their high school diplomas.

“It’s an actual high school diploma,” Pepper says. He says that can carry more weight in the career world than a GED.

“We’re kind of targeting the Hispanic population,” Pepper says.

He says there’s a higher drop-out rate in that community, though Wichita Learning Connection is open to anyone.

One site will be in 1,550 square feet in New Leaf Plaza, formerly the Marina Lakes shopping center, at 21st and Amidon.

The other will be in 2,200 square feet at Parklane Shopping Center at Lincoln and Oliver.

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