WICHITA — Wichita’s well-known Domestic Laundry building at 1425 E. Douglas has a new owner.
“We’ve all loved that building for a long time,” says Bill Jackson, Transitions Group owner, of himself and six employees who bought the building.
Jackson has been leasing space in the building for his ACI Design Studio for the last couple of years.
“A group of my employees who have been with me for a long time — some of them up to 25 years — and myself formed a little LLC and bought it.”
DL 1425, which stands for Domestic Laundry and the building’s address, includes Karen Cundiff, whom Jackson describes as an instrumental player in the Douglas Design District; Brent Dorrah, who runs ACI; Barney Lehnherr; Brendan Hogan; and Jackson’s children Piper Ayala and Josh Jackson.
Bill Jackson says they’d hoped to have another name for their LLC, but “every interesting, fun name was taken.”
Jackson says the Domestic Laundry building is a key piece of Douglas and his group will do what it can to improve its stature.
“That part of East Douglas was always known for its neon signage,” he says.
He points to GLMV Architecture’s prominent new sign just down the street and says his group would like to do something similar.
Jackson says he has pictures of the “cool signage” from the building’s early history and may use that for inspiration.
“We were thinking about maybe looking into the possibility of maybe redesigning the sign that’s up there now.”
The first portion of the building was built in 1915. There was an addition in 1930.
The group purchased the building from the estate of the late Rich Vliet, who Jackson says bought the building in the 1990s and did an extensive remodel around 2000.
The first order for the LLC will be to take care of a few upgrades.
“We really want to make sure that we take care of the integrity of the building,” Jackson says.
The group may look for other buildings in the area to purchase.
“You know, we have discussed that just briefly, and everyone has an interest in that,” Jackson says.
He says his business has been in the area for 25 years.
“We’ve all been down there so long,” Jackson says.
He points to other nearby properties, such as the former Mentholatum building where the Spice Merchant is, that add to the area’s historic and varied flavor.
“We just think historically it is a real interesting part of Wichita’s growth,” Jackson says. “It’s just a lot of cool right in there.”