Daily Archives: March 13, 2013

Construction to begin at Cornerstone Office Park with medical office to be built first

WICHITA — Construction is set to begin shortly at the new Cornerstone Office Park at the 520-acre Cornerstone development in Andover.

There will be room for 150,000 square feet of office space at nine buildings, the first of which will be a new medical building.

“With the success of the hospital, it’s just a natural fit to have medical practices wanting to locate at Cornerstone,” says developer George Laham. “Obviously, we have a lot of interest right now from … medical groups that want to be located in the area.”

Laham Development and Ritchie Development are the developers of Cornerstone, which is north of 21st Street between 159th Street East and Andover Road.

The 18,000-square-foot medical building will be adjacent to the Kansas Medical Center. KMC CEO Badr Idbeis will be one of the physicians to use the new space.

The two-level building will have the same architectural design as the hospital.

There will be a reception area, exam rooms and offices for physicians. One feature of the building is a clerestory that will allow natural light inside.

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The Hill Bar and Grill is still on track for late April or early May opening

WICHITA — Some passersby are wondering about the Hill Bar and Grill at Douglas and Oliver.

“We’ve been at a standstill for, like, a week and a half,” says Brent Steven, who is opening the business with his brother, Brad.

Brent Steven says there was a permitting issue related to a mezzanine they won’t be using. He says it’s something the owners of the building have been working on, and it isn’t an issue for the business.

“We’re not too off track,” he says.

Steven expects plumbing and drywall work to start shortly. He says the Hill still should open by late April or early May.

“Once we get going, it’s going to go real fast.”

J.R. Koontz Flowers behind in state taxes

WICHITA — Another longtime Wichita business is struggling and behind on taxes because of the economy.

J.R. Koontz Flowers owes $23,559 in state sales tax.

“We’re trying to get that resolved right now,” says owner J.R. Koontz. “It’s not only embarrassing, but it’s just very difficult.”

He says he suspected there was a problem, but not to this extent.

“I was just kind of blown away,” Koontz says. “I thought, truthfully, it wouldn’t go this far.”

He says contributing to the issue is his purchase of the 10,000-square-foot building at 633 N. Broadway where he moved the business a decade ago.

“Quite honestly, this facility is a dream come true, and I’m glad I did it,” Koontz says. “Regretfully, it probably wasn’t the smartest business move.”

Though he may be good with flowers, Koontz says running a business isn’t his specialty.

“I’m probably one of the worst business people there is when it comes to paying attention to handling those business things.”

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Associated Lumber closes after 25 years

WICHITA — Associated Lumber is out of business.

“It’s just the economy and bad fortunes,” says owner Ron Hill.

He and his wife, Doris, had the business for 25 years.

That includes a west Wichita location at 1905 Southwest Blvd. and a Neodesha site that opened 16 years ago.

Ron Hill says the Wichita store suffered two thefts in the last year that totaled more than $25,000.

“And, of course, why do you have insurance?” he says. “It sure don’t cover it.”

Hill says larger competitors were a factor in their decision as well.

The Hills leased the buildings where their stores were. They’ll have auctions for the contents soon.

You don’t say

“Boy, he’d be a hard individual to replace from his personality and … as a shoe shine because that’s such a dying art.”

– The Garvey Center’s Larry Weber on Richard Henry, who shined shoes in the building for more than a decade until his death last week

Builders Inc. prepares to once again start construction of Corner 365

WICHITA — Work is once again set to begin at Corner 365.

That’s the 36-unit apartment complex that Builders Inc. had to stop building at First and Waco when the company found a railroad car buried on the property.

The car was removed Friday.

“I heard it weighed 15 tons,” says Brad Smisor, executive vice president at Builders.

“It’s behind us. That’s good.”

There was some oil and water in the car.

The finding has delayed construction by two months, Smisor says. The issue became public less than a month ago, but the car was discovered more than a month before that.

“It was setting open,” Smisor says of the hole where the car was. “Anybody could have seen it.”

He says he’s not sure how much the issue affected the company financially.

“I still don’t know, to tell you the truth,” Smisor says. “It’s not going to … deter us from going ahead.”

He expects work to begin again within two weeks.

“Hopefully, you’ll see something coming out of the ground here shortly.”